The majority of the largest global companies have publicly set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals, many of which require significant renewable energy solutions. Few have made any progress. Although a handful of companies, led by retailers and brand-conscious technology companies and automakers, are in the game at serious scale, investment by the majority of large companies remains small compared to their energy profiles.
Commercial and industrial companies, collectively a major player for scaling renewables—especially wind and solar electricity, but possibly transport fuels and heat as well—is typically still sitting on the sidelines. We see the largest non-energy, non-finance companies, which together represent about half of all commercial and industrial energy demand, as ready to lead a major transformation in renewables sourcing. The industry is ready to welcome them to the table, especially if they are prepared and know what they want.
RMI is creating a Business Renewables Center that will help to double clean energy electricity share by 2019 by increasing clean energy procurement and investment by large commercial and industrial companies.
The Center will offer:
- Educational materials and case studies that are broadly available to help staff prepare and senior decision makers approve renewables strategies
- Events that provide education and deal strategy acceleration for finance, strategy, and procurement specialists
- Tools for strategy setting and option evaluation
- Transaction data
- Contract language
- Resources for tackling barriers like geographically bounded opportunities
From this, we see the potential for $15 billion in additional renewables investment per year to occur by 2019 that could not happen otherwise. And, while the Center will initially focus on the U.S. market, we expect the capabilities developed will effectively travel within large corporations to other countries.
RMI is currently seeking founding members, primarily from Fortune 500 non-energy firms, but also from service and technology providers of all sizes to partner with us and launch the Center. These organizations will help set priorities for the Center, help recruit new members; have first-status entrée in trials, programs, and multi-company deals; and will be publicly recognized for their leadership and support.
Learn more about becoming a founding member
In particular, RMI is looking for:
- Large companies seeking to increase their near-term purchase of renewables, especially in electricity
- Early-entrant companies willing to share their experience in large renewable energy deals
- Service providers including law firms, accounting firms, and banks and other finance players
- Project developers and equipment suppliers
In late 2014, RMI and our partners will convene founding members, representatives from interested Fortune 500 companies, and top-tier service providers to launch the Center and offer a first selection of services and education. The multi-day working sessions will frame corporate renewable energy strategy setting and decision structures, detail on-site strategies and benchmarks, review power-purchase agreement options and tradeoffs, introduce more complex deal structures, and will offer insights from RMI's solar cost reduction program. Pilot versions of tools and methodologies for strategy setting will be disseminated. The event will also offer significant deal discussion opportunities with leading players, potentially including multi-company teaming.