June 19, 2017 Read More →

Midwest Businesses ‘Forge Ahead’ on Renewable Energy

Union of Concern Scientists:

You may not expect to see Detroit-based car giant General Motors (GM) on the list, but they have committed to using 100% renewable electricity across their global operations by 2050. This commitment, combined with their pursuit of developing affordable electric vehicles positions GM to be a clean energy leader in their industry. With a global annual consumption of nine terawatt hours of electricity, equivalent to more than the total yearly energy consumption of Nicaragua, Senegal, and Uganda combined, moving forward with a 100 percent renewable energy goal is no small feat. Their roadmap to achieving this goal includes adding 30 megawatts of solar arrays at two facilities in China, completing an installation of 466 kilowatts of solar at an operations plant in upstate New York, and their largest ever renewable energy purchase in 2016 with a commitment to buy 50 megawatts of wind power.

Salesforce, the Chicago based CRM software solutions and cloud computing company, has committed to increasing the percentage of renewable energy powering its global operations and reaching its goal of 100% renewable electricity. To work towards this goal, Salesforce signed a 12-year wind energy agreement for 40 megawatts (MW) from a West Virginia wind farm through a virtual power purchase agreement. Last year they announced their second renewable energy agreement, a 12-year contract for 24 MW from a Texas wind farm.

Headquartered in Grand Rapids Michigan, Steelcase is an office furniture manufacturer. Their long-term commitment to 100% renewable energy reflects the company’s larger energy strategy which has resulted in a 60% reduction in energy use since 2001. Steelcase has chosen to meet its commitment through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) from a portfolio that includes non-emitting sources like wind and hydroelectric energy. Steelcase has also created a program to encourage the company’s suppliers to purchase RECs from new wind energy facilities. Partners that choose to participate will get Steelcase’s volume discount pricing.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), headquartered in Cincinnati, has also joined RE100, instituting an intermediate goal of 30% renewable energy by 2020. This is in addition to adopting a goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2020. Clean energy investments make economic sense: P&G’s energy efficiency improvements alone have resulted in a cost savings of more than $350 million since 2010.

Significant action on climate change is happening around the world, its gaining momentum, and it’s exceedingly driven by the private sector.

Renewable energy prices are falling, and investing in renewable energy just makes economic sense for many large businesses. Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) found that 71 of the Fortune 100 companies currently have renewable energy or sustainability targets.

As Washington Flounders, Midwest Businesses Forge Ahead on Clean Energy

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