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Groundbreaking Study: States that Enable Customer Choice of Clean Energy Attracting Job-Creating Businesses

David Gardiner and Associates contributed to a groundbreaking study released today that ranks all 50 states based on the ease with which companies in the retail and information technology sectors can procure renewable energy and urges state governments to promote customer choice of renewable energy. The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings, released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry (ITI), concludes that states that enable investment in clean domestic energy production are most likely to attract America’s largest job-creating businesses.

The report focuses on state renewable energy policy and the critical role that access to low-cost renewable energy can play as part of any state economic development strategy. The report notes that “the structure of a state’s electricity market can directly influence where corporations choose to invest in renewable energy projects, and in which states they decide to expand their operational footprint.”

Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean energy production due to fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. Read more

18 of the Largest Electricity Consumers in Virginia Called on the Commonwealth to Expand Renewable Energy Choices

A group of 18 major corporations, including big names such as Microsoft, Walmart, Best Buy, Ikea, Staples and Mars Inc., among others, sent a letter to state lawmakers and the Virginia State Corporation Commission calling for “an explicit legal framework” to expand access to renewable energy from utilities and third-party sellers. Read more about the letter in this article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

 

VAEEC Featured Member of the Month

David Gardiner & Associates has been featured as the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council Member of the Month for October. The article highlights a new report by the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency (a project of DGA), which finds that Virginia could reduce carbon emissions by over 2.5 million tons annually by 2030 from industrial energy efficiency. You can read the full feature here.

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Alliance for Industrial Efficiency Releases State Industrial Efficiency Ranking

The Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, a project of DGA, released an exciting new report that ranks states on their potential for industrial energy efficiency and CHP/WHP to reduce carbon emissions. The report – State Ranking of Potential Carbon Dioxide Emission Reductions through Industrial Energy Efficiency – demonstrates that states could help the industrial sector seize enormous opportunities to cut carbon emissions, while saving money and making manufacturers more competitive. Read more about the report here.

Seven Major US Companies Sign Letter in Support of Clean Line Grain Belt Express in Missouri

A group of companies with retail and manufacturing facilities across Missouri including General Motors, General Mills, Target, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s and Nestlé, joined in supporting the Grain Belt Express project, noting that the “Grain Belt Express Clean Line is an opportunity to provide our companies with a link to low-cost renewable energy at a scale that is meaningful.”

These companies, which collectively employ more than 10,000 Missourians and own dozens of facilities across the state, each have corporate sustainability goals and are a part of a broader t rend of companies around the country using their purchasing power to call for more renewable energy. The companies stated in a letter to the Missouri Public Service Commission, “Access to renewable energy is increasingly important to our decisions about where to expand and to site new facilities.”  Click here to view the letter.

Vice President Ryan Hodum Testifies Before Ohio Legislature Urging Support for HB 190

Vice President Ryan Hodum was joined by Amazon and TechNet in testifying before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee on Wednesday May 18th. The House Public Utilities Committee is considering HB 190 which would remove policies that effectively prohibit new wind turbine development in the state.

Many Fortune 500 companies, such as Amazon, have aggressive renewable energy targets and the current wind-set back policies have kept many companies from investing in Ohio. For these companies, renewable energy is a smart business decision – they can save money with renewable power. Powering facilities with renewable energy allows large customers to hedge against power price fluctuations by locking in rates over a long period of time.

This rapidly expanding corporate demand for renewable energy has made any state’s renewable energy policies an economic development issue. Members of the Ohio legislature are right to see renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, as key to attracting Fortune 500 companies to the state. Access to renewable energy is a critical factor for many of America’s largest employers when they choose where to do business. Click here to read Ryan’s full testimony.

Manufacturers Save Big with Utility Industrial Energy-Efficiency Programs

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The  Alliance for Industrial Efficiency recently published a new factsheet that details how manufacturers benefit when they “opt in” to utility industrial energy-efficiency programs.

Although energy use presents a significant cost to manufacturers, there are often cost-effective energy- saving opportunities that companies have not yet captured. Large industrial customers typically report that their energy-efficiency investments must realize a very short (one- to two-year) payback period requirement, which means that many projects that are cost-effective in the long-term will not be approved and initiated.

Utilities have a much larger appetite for long-term investments than manufacturers, allowing them to subsidize projects that may not bring quick returns. Through incentives and rebates, utility programs offset up-front investment in energy efficiency. An industrial customer who would not invest in an energy-efficiency project with a four-year payback period, would be able to offset some of the costs with utility incentives, reducing the payback to two years or less, and meeting their short payback requirement.

For example, Nissin Brake, an Ohio-based automotive supplier, received rebates from AEP Ohio for investing in energy-efficient air compressor controls, air drying, and lighting, saving the company over 800,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The utility rebates reduced the payback period from three years to less than two, making the investment viable. In fact, Nissin Brake has stated that they would not have invested in the energy-efficiency improvements if the AEP Ohio program did not exist. Another example highlighted in the fact sheet is Kellogg USA’s Battle Creek, Michigan plant, which saves nearly $90,000 annually in energy costs due to efficiency improvements made through a utility incentive program.

As states look ahead to ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy use, the Alliance’s new fact sheet is a valuable reminder of the huge gains that can be achieved  with industrial efficiency measures. While large manufacturers are clear beneficiaries of industrial efficiency programs, utility customers from all sectors benefit from lower electricity demand. Reducing demand for energy allows utilities to defer power plant construction or transmission and distribution system upgrades, resulting in lower bills for everyone. Long-term energy cost savings for all customers is something everyone can appreciate!

DGA Releases Updated Report Detailing Economic Opportunity to Advance CHP

David Gardiner and Associates and the Institute for Industrial Productivity released an updated version of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) as a Compliance Option under the Clean Power Plan: A Template and Policy Options for State Regulators. This updated report reflects changes to the final Clean Power Plan, which was released in August 2015. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) provides a tremendous opportunity for states to save electricity, increase manufacturing competitiveness, and reduce emissions. The April 2016 report, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) as a Compliance Option under the Clean Power Plan: A Template and Policy Options for State Regulatorsis a key tool to guide states as they craft their compliance plans under the Clean Power Plan. The report provides a detailed consideration of EPA’s final requirements  for approvable state plans. It also includes a menu of policy options – a comprehensive survey of policies that states have adopted to help advance industrial efficiency. The report, prepared by DGA and the Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP) for the American Gas Association (AGA), American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA), and the National Propane Gas Association can be viewed here. The press release is also available online here.

Vice President Ryan Hodum Submits Testimony to Kansas House Committee on Recent Trends in Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement

On February 17th, David Gardiner and Associates Vice President Ryan Hodum submitted comments to the Kansas House Committee on Utilities and Telecommunications in support of policies which would enhance customer choice and allow corporations, and other large institutional customers, to purchase renewable energy, such as wind and solar, within the state. Hodum noted that the members of the Kansas Legislature are right to see renewable energy sources as key to attract Fortune 500 companies to the state. Access to renewable energy is a critical factor for many of America’s largest employers when they choose where to do business. “Many states with regulated electricity markets are already adopting policies to make renewable energy available to all customers,” he noted. Click here to view our full testimony.

 

Press Release: DGA Applauds Governor McAuliffe’s Renewable Energy Announcement

DGA applauds Governor Terry McAuliffe’s recent recognition that the state must increase its renewable energy to attract large, new businesses, such as information technology companies, to the state. As part of his recent announcement that Virginia’s government buildings will derive 8% of their electricity from solar energy within the next three years, Governor McAuliffe said “[Amazon, Google, and Microsoft] made it clear to me as governor that they will not put future plants in states that cannot provide them with renewable energy,” as reported by The Virginian Pilot. Click here to read full press release.