The Private Sector Moves Faster than Government to Adopt Renewable Energy - Energy Minute for December 28, 2012



The world’s top companies are moving ahead of governments in the race to adopt renewable energy. That’s the conclusion of a new report by Calvert, Ceres, and the World Wildlife Fund. The report, called “Power Forward: Why the World’s Largest Companies are Investing in Renewable Energy,” finds that a majority of Fortune 100 companies have set a renewable energy commitment, a greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitment—or both. Internationally, the trend is even stronger, as more than two-thirds of Fortune’s Global 100 have made the same commitments. From the combined 173 companies in the Fortune 100 and Global 100, 96—or just over half—have set GHG reduction goals. Of those, 23 companies have set specific goals for renewable energy use. Others are using renewable energy to meet their GHG goals. Many companies are also shifting from buying short-term, temporary renewable energy credits to longer-term investment strategies like power purchase agreements, making a strategic commitment to renewable energy to gain the profit benefits of reduced energy price volatility.

The report notes that the biggest obstacle for development is the inconsistency in official policies about incentives for renewable energy projects that sends mixed signals to companies and investors. As a solution, it recommends that policymakers extend tax credits and other incentives to level costs in the energy field. It also suggests removing policy hurdles in states that prevent companies from contracting to buy the cheapest renewable power available. Finally, the report highlights market-based solutions that put a price on the pollution from conventional energy generation. The bottom line? Clear, progressive energy policies will be crucial to growing the market for renewables.

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