Roughly one-third of all the greenhouse gas emissions generated in the U.S. come from the burning of fossil fuels (primarily coal and natural gas) to produce electricity. Increasing the use of renewable power is one of the most critical ways to fight climate change. Right now, renewable energy sources account for only 13% of U.S. electricity although that number is growing quickly. Businesses have the power to drive the creation of a thriving, global market for renewable power by committing to transition 100% of their electricity to renewable sources in the shortest practical time.
By transitioning to renewable sources of electricity, you can help to create an energy system that:
- Reduces our impact on climate change;
- Results in cleaner air;
- Is more reliable and secure; and
- May save your company money over time compared with conventional sources as recent reports indicate that the cost of renewables is dropping quickly.
What is expected of companies that commit to 100% renewable power?
Making the commitment to 100% renewable power means that your company will work towards a goal of switching to 100% renewable power by the earliest possible date. This commitment also includes providing annual, transparent reporting on your progress towards reaching this goal.
Even if your company is not ready to commit to 100% renewable power, you can still set a bold target that will get you started on the journey to supporting renewable power. Any shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will help slow climate change and help set an example that renewables make good sense for business and the economy.
Or, if you’ve already committed to 100% renewable power and want to do more, you can go even farther by:
- Encouraging your suppliers to join you in making a commitment to 100% renewable power like Clif Bar. In 2014 Clif Bar introduced a “50/50 by 2020” initiative with the goal of helping 50 of their key supplier facilities to transition to at least 50% green energy by 2020. See below for more information on this initiative.
- Expanding your renewables commitment to your full energy use including liquid fuels and natural gas. For manufacturers the GHG emissions from boilers, furnaces and other nonelectric energy use is often far more than electrical.
Companies committing to 100% renewable power will be expected to complete an annual online questionnaire updating the Climate Collaborative on progress made toward the commitment. The questionnaire will be short and should not be burdensome to complete.
To learn more about Clif Bar’s inspiring work, check out this case study.
How can the Climate Collaborative help?
Our goal is to help well-intentioned companies make the greatest impact possible through their investment in renewable power. In recent years, more and more companies have made a commitment to increase their use of renewable power. Although some companies have invested in installing solar, wind and hydro power on-site at their own facilities, many have turned to a variety of other mechanisms including Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), “community-solar” and other tools to meet their goal of reducing their carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, not all of these mechanisms translate to an increase in renewable energy production and some may have little to no positive impact on climate change. As a result, it can be difficult for well-meaning companies to determine whether the RECs or other mechanisms through which they’re purchasing renewable power are truly accelerating the low carbon transition and represent additional renewable generation that would not have happened without the companies’ investments.
We are in the process of producing a white paper and webinar that will provide more detailed guidance on how to make an informed decision when purchasing renewable power through a variety of mechanisms. Stay tuned!
And please let us know what your challenges are so we can work to identify the right resources to help you surmount them.
To learn more about RECs, PPAs and how to make sure your renewable energy purchases are having an impact check out this workshop by Mark Trexler of the Climatographers.
- Webinar: How to Transition to Renewable Power
- Partner: RE100: a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity
- Partner: Business Renewables Center (BRC): a member-based platform that streamlines and accelerates corporate purchasing of off-site, large-scale wind and solar energy
Case Studies and Company Examples
- Outpost Case Study: Plugging in to Renewables
- Organic Valley: Making Local Partnerships to Achieve 100% Renewable Power by 2019
- Clif Bar’s commitment to 100% renewable power and their "50/50 by 2020" initiative
- How Google achieved 100% renewable power: Achieving 100% Renewable Energy Purchasing Goal
We are indebted to We Mean Business - a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors for their assistance in developing the content for these engagement areas.