More Corporations Going Green, Southeastern States Are Lagging

This blog was written by Simon Mahan, former Energy Policy Manager at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | February 2, 2017 | Energy Policy, Solar

As renewables continue to drop in price and rise in importance, corporations are increasingly interested in using renewable energy to power their operations and meet their sustainability goals. Both the ease and success of corporate procurement of renewables is highly dependent on the state and utility policies where the corporations are located. For example, the bulk of corporate renewables procurement takes place in deregulated energy markets, or markets that allow for third party power purchase agreements (PPAs), while regulated markets are more likely to have “virtual PPAs” that allow the corporation to simply buy clean energy credits. The Corporate Clean Energy Index is dedicated to tracking the simplicity, or difficulty, that corporations face from state to state when procuring renewable energy, ranking all 50 states.

2017 rankings were just released – how does the Southeast measure up? Not that well, unfortunately. In the overall rankings, Florida is almost dead last at #45, slightly worse than Tennessee at #44. Georgia comes in at #37, South Carolina at #36, and North Carolina at #30.

As a side note on how the rankings are tabulated, according to GTM: The index consists of 15 indicators broken down across three categories — utility purchasing options, third-party purchasing options and onsite/direct purchasing options. The results were also combined for an overall ranking. Furthermore, all calculations were adjusted by dividing megawatts of deployed renewable capacity by the state’s total installed capacity in order to create a level playing field. 

Given that some states still have a long way to go before renewable energy has a straightforward procurement path, corporations are increasingly taking an active role in pushing favorable policies forward.  Just last December, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) reported that an increasing number of Fortune 100 and 500 companies have renewable energy goals, 22 of the Fortune 500 even making a commitment to 100% renewable energy, with some companies such as Google hoping to reach those goals in the next couple of years. In order to meet these goals, corporations need good policy. Their local economic power, creating local jobs, investment, and revenue, translates into political weight, putting these corporations in a unique position to be able to shape renewables policy. More information on the challenges and opportunities corporations are facing in the area can be found in the full report: Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings

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