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REPORT: Top 11 States for Corp. Access to Renewables, Policies to Meet Sustainability Goals

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REPORT: Simple Policies Can Expand Corporate Access to Advanced Energy, Drive Investment in States

Market brief identifies policies that will allow companies to choose renewable energy to power operations, with 11 states showing greatest market potential 

[Washington, D.C., Aug. 9, 2016] – Today, Meister Consultants Group, Inc., an international sustainability consulting firm, released a report outlining policy changes that states can enact to expand corporate access to advanced energy. The report identifies 11 states with a strong corporate presence in which one or more of the policies profiled has the potential to create new opportunities for corporate competitiveness.

The report focuses on six policies that would enable companies to purchase advanced energy, and for each one considers where these policies have the greatest potential to expand corporate access to advanced energy, assessing the regulatory and policy environment, potential market size for corporate purchases, and renewable energy potential of all 50 states.

The report, Opportunities to Increase Corporate Access to Advanced Energy: A National Brief, prepared for Advanced Energy Economy Institute, explains that for many companies, the ability to control energy costs and sources is a key factor when deciding where to locate or expand their operations. Increasingly, companies are specifically seeking opportunities to purchase advanced energy—a choice often backed by an internal sustainability goal or renewable energy target.

“Providing opportunities for companies to access advanced energy is a win-win for states,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, a national business organization, with which the AEE Institute is affiliated. “Adopting policies like those outlined in this report signal to companies that the state is open for business. That will unleash private investment in new energy infrastructure and drive economic growth in the state.”

"Expanding renewable energy is a top priority for Microsoft, and we’re committed to using more clean energy every year. That requires greater availability of renewable energy in the markets where we operate,” said Rob Bernard, chief environmental strategist at Microsoft. “With the proper policies to expand renewable energy options, our activities can speed the clean energy transition.”

"Renewable energy is an important way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprints, and in aggregate can have an enormous impact on our nation's carbon output," said Patrick Flynn, director of sustainability for Salesforce. "At Salesforce, we consider the environment a key stakeholder and have made a corporate commitment to power 100 percent of our operations with renewable energy.”  

“As part of Honda's initiative to reduce its total impact on the environment, Honda is committed to the development and implementation of renewable energy projects throughout the company,” said Steven Center, Vice President of the Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “Honda became the first U.S. automaker to utilize on-site wind power for a substantial portion of its energy use when two turbines began operation at Honda Transmission Manufacturing in Russells Point, Ohio. Similarly, a one-megawatt AC solar photovoltaic system was installed at Honda's parts distribution center in Windsor Locks, Connecticut to harness solar power for the facility. The company's commitment to renewable energy continues to be a driving force for the future.”

To put the market potential for corporate advanced energy purchases into perspective, if half of electricity demand from commercial and industrial customers nationally were met by renewable energy, this would drive development of nearly 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy—more than double current capacity nationwide, and enough to power over 100 million houses.

However, in many states, companies are restricted in their options to make these purchases. The report outlines six policies for advanced energy, identifying the states with the largest corporate demand and strongest renewable resources in which the policies could expand options for corporate consumers.

Three of these policies enable companies to purchase electricity from large-scale offsite advanced energy projects: Utility Renewable Energy Tariffs, through which companies can purchase renewable energy competitively sourced by their utility, “Back-to-back” Utility PPAs, in which the utility acts as an intermediary between a customer and renewable energy developer, and Direct Access Tariffs, which allow certain customers in traditionally regulated markets to choose their electricity source. These policies open up purchasing options generally not available to companies located in vertically integrated states. 

The three remaining policies allow companies to access energy from distributed energy resources: raising system size limits for programs that credit distributed generation, such as net metering, allowing third-party ownership of onsite generation systems, and allowing virtual or aggregated metering to enable companies to benefit from distributed energy even when their needs are not met by a single onsite system at a single building. While most states around the country currently have policies in place that support onsite or distributed advanced energy, not all of them are structured to enable the participation of larger corporate users, and these three policies can enable companies in particular to benefit from distributed resources.

After considering states’ regulatory and political environments, 11 states stood out. The report summarizes the top 5 for one or more of the policies profiled on the basis of its potential to increase corporate access to renewable energy. Of these, 11 made the top 5 list for one or more of the policies: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Applicable policy options for each state can be found in the Executive Summary of the report.

About Meister Consulting Group
Meister Consultants Group (MCG) is an international consulting firm focusing on energy policy, strategy and innovation. MCG works with private and public sector partners on market analysis, policy design, and program implementation. 

About AEE and the AEE Institute
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable the rapid growth of advanced energy companies. The Advanced Energy Economy Institute is a nonprofit educational and charitable organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the public benefits and opportunities of advanced energy.

Background Materials:

  • “Opportunities to Increase Corporate Access to Advanced Energy: A National Brief” is here.
  • Advanced Energy Now 2016 Market Report (U.S., global revenue) is here.
  • This is Advanced Energy, directory of 52 advanced energy technologies, is here.

Media Contact:

Monique Hanis
Director, Media Relations & Publications
Advanced Energy Economy
The business voice of advanced energy

1000 Vermont Ave., N.W., Third Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005
202-391-0884 | mhanis@aee.net | www.AEE.net | @AEEnet @GreenerMonique