Webinar: The Growing Demand for Renewable Energy Among Major U.S. and Global Manufacturers

David Gardiner and Associates hosted a discussion about how manufacturers are increasingly powering their operations with renewable energy. Our webinar on February 14, 2018 featured Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewable Energy at General Motors and Steve Skarda, Global Climate and Energy Leader for Procter & Gamble. The two panelists from major U.S. manufacturers discussed their companies’ leadership on renewable energy and how it fits with their business strategy.

Alexandra Rekkas, DGA’s Senior Research Associate, presented the findings from her study examining the renewable energy and greenhouse gas commitments of manufacturers —The Growing Demand for Renewable Energy Among Major U.S. and Global Manufacturers. David Gardiner, president of David Gardiner and Associates, moderated the webinar.

A PDF copy of our presentation is available for download here.

You can watch a recording of the webinar and find other related materials below.

If you’re interested in learning more about General Motors’ energy strategy, check out their Blueprint for Accelerating and Scaling Corporate Renewable Energy Plans and other materials on their website.

More information about Procter & Gamble’s sustainability strategy is available on their website.

DGA is a Washington, D.C. area-based strategic advisory firm focused on climate change, clean energy, and sustainability. GM is a multinational vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Detroit, committed to generating or sourcing all electrical power for its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. P&G is an multinational consumer goods corporation headquartered in Cincinnati, working towards a 2020 goal of increasing the use of renewable energy in their plants to 30%.

Leading Business Association Links Customers’ Access to Clean Energy to Economic Growth

Earlier this week, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) released a memo in response to request from Minnesota Senator David Osmek for more information on how to improve Minnesota’s business climate through clean energy. The memo explains why Minnesota ranks 31st in the RILA/ITI Clean Energy Procurement Index—in large part due to the lack of policies that enable customer choice. Please see the below press release from the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum for more information.


Leading Business Association Links Customers’ Access to Clean Energy to Economic Growth

States that are investing in clean domestic energy production are also the most likely to attract businesses, creating thousands of jobs in their communities.

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA—On Monday, Senator David Osmek, Chair of the Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee, released a memo from two national business associations, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), which provided valuable research and information regarding energy deployment and how it can improve of Minnesota’s business environment.

“I appreciate RILA and ITI responding to my request for more information on how to improve Minnesota’s business climate,” said Senator Osmek. “I am committed to making energy in Minnesota plentiful, affordable, and reliable. This response adds another valuable perspective on improving our energy market and welcoming business to our state.

“Minnesota should be ranked first in the nation in providing easy customer access to renewable energy”, said Bruce Nustad, President of the Minnesota Retailers Association. “Minnesota is missing opportunities to attract more economic development by not creating more customer choice for renewables.”

Large companies have dramatically increased their renewable energy purchases in recent years and more is expected. Forty-eight (48%) percent of the Fortune 500—240 companies—have established public goals to obtain clean energy to power their operations. To date, 70 companies—equivalent to 54 million MWh of electrical demand by 2020 and enough to power over 4.4 million homes in a year—have joined the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, calling for increased access to renewable energy at the state level. Signatories include companies with a major Minnesota footprint, such as 3M, General Mills, Sprint, Target, and Walmart.

The RILA and ITI memo explains why Minnesota ranks 31st in their analysis ranking all 50 U.S. states based on the ease with which customers in the energy marketplace, including some of Minnesota’s most recognizable brands, can procure domestic renewable energy, such as solar and wind, to power their operations and save money for their investors and customers. The RILA/ITI analysis concludes that states that are investing in clean domestic energy production are also the most likely to attract businesses, creating thousands of jobs in their communities.

“We thank Senator Osmek for focusing on ways to apply conservative business approaches to the energy market and for his commitment to growing Minnesota’s economy”, said Mike Franklin, President of the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum. “Markets work – if you let them. We know that more freedom for customers to choose clean energy will create more investment and jobs in Minnesota, and a cleaner, more resilient energy economy as well.”

Contact: Mike Franklin, President, MNCEF,

Bruce Nustad, President, Minnesota Retailers Association (MNRA), 651-227-6631,

To contact RILA regarding the report or memo:

Christin Fernandez

Vice President, Communications

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)


Blog: Corporate Access to Renewables is Growing on a Global Scale

By William Sherman, in collaboration with David Gardiner

In recent years, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have been the main avenue for large businesses to procure renewable energy and have received considerable attention in the United States. But companies have recently successfully argued the European Union (EU) should expand the corporate PPA market.

In December, Amazon, DuPont, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Unilever and other companies urged the EU to lift on all regulatory barriers (direct and indirect) to PPAs and to establish ambitious 35 percent renewables by 2030 target for member states.

In response, on January 17, 2018, the European Parliament voted to increase its member states renewable energy target to 35 percent by 2030 and to require states to remove barriers to corporate customer access to renewable energy. Now negotiations between the Council, the Commission, and Parliament will begin in early 2018 to make the new energy target and other amendments legally binding. These ambitious objectives came about because of influence from major corporate players.

The EU’s 2009 renewable energy policy, the Renewable Energy Directive, created significant barriers to PPAs, limiting corporate abilities to tap renewable resources. As the EU began to indicate in 2016 that it would remove these barriers, companies, led by Google and Microsoft, began expanding their role in European clean energy markets, procuring more than 1 GW of renewables through PPAs that year (almost tripling in volume compared to 2015 capacity), and another 1 GW of clean energy capacity in the final quarter of 2017 alone.

If the renewable energy targets are agreed upon and the regulatory barriers are lifted in upcoming legislative decisions, the surge in renewable PPA purchases could expand even further, helping companies of all industries achieve their global climate and sustainability goals.

WEF and DGA Report: Transmission Needed to Meet Corporate America’s Growing Demand for Renewable Power

Today, as part of its A Renewable America campaign, the Wind Energy Foundation released a David Gardiner and Associates report, “Transmission Upgrades & Expansion: Keys to Meeting Large Customer Demand for Renewable Energy.”

This report examines the need to expand and upgrade U.S. transmission lines to meet the significant renewable energy demand of large non-utility customers, especially from Fortune 500 companies. The report finds that:

  1. Renewable energy commitments from large corporations are growing rapidly and will lead to significant renewable energy procurement through 2025. The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance has a goal of 60 gigawatts of new renewables by 2025, for example.
  2. Most of the best renewable energy resources are in a 15-state Mid-American region, while load growth is highest outside the region. The 15 states between the Rockies and the Mississippi River account for 88 percent of the country’s wind technical potential and 56 percent of the country’s utility-scale solar photovoltaic technical potential, but 70 percent of projected 2050 electricity demand is outside that region.
  3. As a result, expanded and upgraded transmission is needed to ensure new low-cost renewable energy can get to where corporate and other consumers will use it;
  4. Transmission planners do not account for this rising tide of corporate demand today and should.

The full report is available for download here.

Blog: Michigan Utility’s New Green Tariff Addresses Large Corporate Demand for Renewables

By Courtney Arnett, climate and clean energy intern at David Gardiner and Associates 

One of Michigan’s largest utilities, Consumers Energy, recently announced the creation of a new green tariff aimed at providing corporate customers with 100 percent renewable energy options. This action reflects Consumer Energy’s response to the rising tide of demand for renewable energy from Fortune 500 companies, including those in the manufacturing sector. It is a major step to seizing the economic development opportunity of providing renewable energy to corporate customers.

In particular, Michigan had significant work to do to improve its renewable energy access to corporate customers. In a report from the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Information Technology Council ranking all 50 states on the ease with which they provide easy access to renewables for corporate customers, it ranked 29th.

Read more

Blog: Great Plains States are Paving the Way in Renewable Energy

By David Gardiner, President of David Gardiner and Associates

This Fall, I participated in two clean energy conferences in the Great Plains: the 10th annual Nebraska Wind & Solar Conference and the 2017 Kansas Energy Conference. Those events provided a fresh reminder that renewable energy is becoming a dominant player in the breadbasket of America. Kansas produces 32 percent of its electricity from renewables, while Nebraska produces 16 percent. Read more

Blog: Making the Manufacturing Sector Competitive with Clean Energy

By David Gardiner, President of David Gardiner and Associates

On Manufacturing Day, as we think about how decisions made today will inspire future manufacturers, two recent events suggest it’s time for a new conversation about how we use renewable energy to make America’s manufacturers competitive.

First, our recent report demonstrates that manufacturers are increasingly powering their operations with renewable energy. Of the 160 large manufacturing companies reviewed in this report, 40 (25 percent) have renewable energy targets, of which 18 are for 100 percent renewable energy. Companies committed to this target include Anheuser Busch InBev, GM, Johnson & Johnson, Nike and the VF Corporation. And 132 companies (83 percent) have made public commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, which many will do with renewable energy.

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DGA Publishes White Paper on The Growing Demand for Renewable Energy Among Major U.S. and Global Manufacturers

A new report from DGA—The Growing Demand for Renewable Energy Among Major U.S. and Global Manufacturers—finds that 83% of the largest manufacturing companies with a U.S. footprint have established greenhouse gas reduction targets and 25% of manufacturers have established renewable energy targets. Our analysis also finds that enabling access to renewable energy sources is a critical factor for a state’s attractiveness to these manufacturers and other large buyers of renewable energy. To that end, many manufacturers engage directly in energy policy advocacy in the states where they operate. The report finds that manufacturers lead every other sector in state renewable energy policy advocacy, representing nearly 40% of the corporate outreach to policymakers between 2015-2017.

Associated materials:

Press Release

Fact Sheet

Download the full report:

In the Spotlight: Former DGA Interns and Staff and Where They are Now

DGA is currently accepting applications for our fall internship program and all month, we will be showcasing the incredible work of our former DGA interns who have gone on to pursue exciting careers.

Andy Barnes

The first week, we are highlighting Andy Barnes, a former Research Assistant at David Gardiner and Associates. He worked at DGA during the summer of 2015, before completing his master’s program the following semester at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) where he received a Master of Environmental Science and a Master of Public Affairs. He went on to intern for the White House Council on Environmental Quality in the Office of Energy and Climate Change and then became a Policy Associate at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), a coalition of businesses, trade associations and foundations from the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and natural gas sectors.

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Blog: America’s Manufacturers Using Clean American-made Energy

By William Sherman, intern, in collaboration with Ryan Hodum, Vice President of David Gardiner and Associates

As the Trump Administration holds ‘Made in America’ week, we took a look at efforts by American manufacturers to procure renewable power that is cheap, clean, and made in America. Manufacturing is an incredibly energy-intensive sector. In fact, manufacturers account for nearly one-quarter of all energy consumed in the U.S. We learned that 18 manufacturers have set an ambitious 100% renewable energy goal either through RE100 or on their own, as detailed in Power Forward 3.0. These manufacturers come from a full range of industries: food and beverage (Anheuser-Busch InBev, Mars, Nestle), information technology (Alphabet, Apple, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Microsoft), automobiles (BMW, GM), consumer and medical products (Avon Products, Biogen, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Unilever), and apparel (Nike, VF Corporation).

These manufacturers are already contracting for on-site and off-site renewable energy on their journey to achieve 100% renewable energy. The most ambitious among them are working to decarbonize both their electricity and thermal load, given the significant heating and cooling needs in the manufacturing sector. Our research finds at least 40 renewable energy projects linked to the 18 manufacturers, from small rooftop solar arrays on car ports to a 200 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Texas (note: the majority of the procurements come from leaders in the technology sector). In fact, Texas is leading every other state and is home to approximately 1.3 GW of the nearly 4.3 GW of capacity from these 40+ projects (or 30 percent of the total renewable energy procured). A major reason that Texas has successfully attracted renewable energy investment from manufacturers (and others) is that it has structured its electricity market to allow customers the ability to easily choose renewables.

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