That’s the outlook of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), which has this month launched the Business Renewables Center (BRC) in response to this growing demand. The BRC brings corporate renewable energy buyers – with a combined revenue of $430bn and 24TWh in electricity consumption per year – together with renewable energy project developers and transaction service providers.

Corporate energy buyers among the Center’s 25 founding members include Bloomberg, eBay and General Motors (GM). The BRC aims to remove the main barriers for companies transitioning to renewable power, namely high transaction costs and the complexity of large-scale renewables transactions. Its efforts will aid the rapid expansion of the US renewables market; enabling capacity to double by at least 2035, although possibly as early as 2025, according to the RMI.

“Corporations can be a powerful lever for expanding renewable energy in the United States and beyond,” said RMI managing director Hervé Touati. “They can lock in long-term affordable prices for clean energy that supports the bottom line, reduce their carbon footprint, and fulfil their corporate sustainability commitments.”

Nearly two thirds of Fortune 100 and half of Fortune 500 companies have made renewable commitments which could potentially add another 60GW of capacity to the grid. Last year, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Walmart combined purchased 1GW of renewable power in the last year.

Collaboration nation

Explaining his company’s decision to become part of the BRC, GM’s renewable energy manager Rob Threlkeld said: “The collaborative effort of the BRC will make it easier for corporations to enter the renewables market. Instead of having hundreds of corporations reinvent the wheel, each member can get immediate access to the cumulative knowledge and wisdom of the industry. Each problem only needs to get solved once.

The BRC believes that in bringing buyers and project developers together, developers will be better positioned to understand buyers’ needs and able to concentrate their efforts on building more capacity, thereby accelerating capacity growth.
Quayle Hodek, chief executive of Renewable Choice Energy – one of the BRC’s founding project developers – said: “The next decade will be a watershed for US renewables. The establishment of the BRC is a testament to explosive industry growth and to the increasing appetite of corporations for easily adoptable, clean power solutions.

“Through collaborative efforts, the BRC is an exciting resource for everyone in the industry and for our clients.”

Late last year, edie reported on the Obama administration unveiling 50-plus public and private sector commitments to advance solar deployment, promote energy efficiency and reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) throughout the US.

Lucinda Dann

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