DETROIT— General Motors has made its largest renewable energy procurement to date, purchasing enough wind power to equal the electricity needs of 16 of its U.S. facilities, including business offices in Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, a major assembly and stamping complex in Arlington, Texas, and 13 parts warehouses east of the Mississippi River . . . “GM’s commitment to renewable energy is helping transform the way electricity is produced, distributed and consumed around the world, and we’re doing it in a way that makes our company and communities stronger,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of Renewable Energy.
Photo: Wind farm from which General Motors procures green energy through a power purchase agreement for the corporation’s manufacturing operations in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Business Renewables Center General Motors is a founding member of the Business Renewables Center (BRC), an organization backed by the Rocky Mountain Institute. The mission of BRC’s nearly 160 members is to streamline and accelerate corporate purchasing of large-scale wind and solar energy. Nearly two-thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have set ambitious renewable energy or related sustainability targets. General Motors has the goal of sourcing 100% of its energy from renewables.
The Tesla-SolarCity proposed merger is really just the tip of the energy cloud: “This emerging energy cloud landscape, a concept that borrows from cloud computing, represents a range of technical, commercial, environmental, and regulatory changes that challenge the traditional hub-and-spoke grid architecture.” [Elon Musk]. Click to read more.
In an upcoming webinar titled The Integrated DER Ecosystem, Navigant Research and two industry leaders, SolarCity and Generate Capital, will discuss how these bundling trends, in addition to other advances in the DER landscape, present opportunities and challenges in the market. The transition to the energy cloud is a bumpy path, but it is already redefining the grid architecture and customer relationships of the future.
The city of Beatrice is taking the first step in planning a local wind power generation facility. The City Council approved an application at its Monday meeting for Nebraska Public Power District to do a review of electrical capacity and transmission, in order to assess the feasibility of a wind generation facility. The application was originally recommended by the Board of Public Works at a prior meeting and is the first step in what will be an ongoing process. Click to read more.
Photo: Wind-farm turbine near the small, centrally-located city of Broken Bow. Credit: Caroline Jezierski
Minnesota climate activists say they are “pleasantly surprised” after Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp issued a new environmentalpolicy in June that will reduce lending for coal-fired power plants, coal mines and other environmentally harmful projects. Two bank officials have been meeting with MN350 members for the past several months on a new environmental policy that would discourage lending to fossil fuel interests. Advocates say the policy move — which they add could be stronger — is important because U.S. Bancorp (the parent company of U.S. Bank) is one of the largest financial services companies in the United States. Click to read more.
Photo: Climate activists outside U.S. Bancorp’s headquarters in Minneapolis. Credit: MN350
By Kieran Coleman and Laurie Guevara-Stone. Posted on Green Biz. First published by Rocky Mountain Institute
Communities are a critical actor in the global effort to combat climate change. More than 1,000 locally elected officials from around the world were present at the Paris Climate Conference talks. Their voices, representing distant communities, were widely recognized as drivers of the international agreement. In the United States, communities and governments continue to drive toward more sustainable, inclusive economies by leveraging local solar power — most recently, in the form of community-scale solar. A unique benefit of community-scale solar projects is their very community orientation, which enables “community-supported development.” . Continue reading.
Photo: Aerial view of Boardman Hill Solar Farm in Rutland, Vermont.
Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance / World Resources Institute
The Corporate Renewable Strategy Map reveals where large energy buyers can access the renewable energy they want at the scale they need through their utility. This interactive tool tracks their options in different states.
Companies can use this map to consider siting new facilities and to prioritize their renewable energy purchasing strategies. It highlights green tariff programs and other utility energy products that allow customers to meet their clean energy goals and lower electricity costs.
It compares each product to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles.
Buyers’ Principles signatories, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, GM, Yahoo, IKEA and approximately 100 others, need to buy nearly 44 million megawatt hours of renewable energy across the US by 2020. States that offer products can compete for this economic development, and companies can more effectively access this information using the interactive Corporate Renewable Strategy Map and other Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) resources.
WASHINGTON (May 12, 2016) — Four non-governmental organizations have formed the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a new coalition to empower multinational companies to transform electricity systems with renewable energy. REBA aims to help facilitate and deploy 60 gigawatts (GWs) of new corporate renewable energy in the United States by 2025.
REBA is led by Business for Social Responsibility, Rocky Mountain Institute, World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund. Over 60 companies are members of one or more of REBA’s initiatives.
In addition to benefiting customers: From the utility perspective, behind the meter storage should be viewed as an opportunity as well. After all, the more storage is paired with solar, the more control we will have over solar’s variable output, which is the main issue utilities cite for limiting the amount of solar on their networks (a potential $2 billion in lost revenue to conventional generators from rooftop solar is rarely mentioned). The more forward-looking utilities are even investing in small behind-the-meter storage systems at customer sites, which they can use to provide grid services and cut costs, while providing resilient power and other services to the host.
Unfortunately, the majority of utilities seem to be either neutral or negative on the question of distributed energy resources in general, and solar in particular. As Rocky Mountain Institute predictedmore than a year ago, the more utilities try to decrease incentives and add fees for solar customers, the more incentive these customers will have to invest in storage, as a way to protect the value of their solar investment and further reduce their reliance on grid-purchased electricity. Read the entire post here.
By Rachel Gold, Senior Associate, Rocky Mountain Institute
It turns out that one of the most valuable remodeling options is one you can’t see. That’s the conclusion of the recent Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine, which compares the average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale value in 100 different U.S. markets. For the first time, Remodeling included an energy efficiency measure—fiberglass attic insulation—and the results were a great indicator of the value provided by energy upgrades.
By Kevin Brehm and Joseph Goodman, Rocky Mountain Institute
Community-scale solar has unique attributes that both leverage the best attributes of behind-the-meter-distributed solar and utility-scale solar, respectively, and which set community-scale solar apart from those market segments.