Google, Facebook, General Motors and Walmart, along with over 300 other companies, launched the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) today—the largest group of corporate renewable energy buyers in the United States. By working to unlock the marketplace for organizations to buy renewable energy, REBA hopes to bring more than 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables online in the United States by 2025.
With offices in Washington, DC and Boulder, Colorado, the new association will function as a membership organization spanning diverse industries and business types, and whose leadership circle alone represents annual revenues of $1 trillion, millions of jobs, and more than 1% of US annual electricity consumption (48 terawatt-hours).
“Every enterprise—whether it’s a bakery, a big-box retailer, or a data center—should have an easy and direct path to buy clean energy. Ultimately, sourcing clean energy should be as simple as clicking a button,” said Michael Terrell, head of Energy Market Strategy, Google, and REBA’s first board chair.
REBA’s vision of tomorrow’s energy marketplace is simple and powerful: a resilient, carbon-free energy system where every organization has an easy and cost-effective path to buying renewable energy.
Achieving this will require removing barriers that restrict access to clean energy. In many parts of the United States, the electricity system functions largely the same way it did 75 years ago. In the decades since, clean energy costs have come down and consumer preferences have evolved. Price is no longer the barrier—to the contrary, historic cost declines mean that renewable energy has increasingly become the most cost-effective resource available. Today it is lack of access to purchase these resources that is holding us back.
Setting greenhouse gas reduction targets
Unlocking access to corporate renewable procurement is an important step in efforts to combat climate change. Commercial and industrial energy users were responsible for more than 2 billion tons of greenhouse gases from energy use in 2018. Mitigating those emissions is part of the reason why over 70% of Fortune 100 companies have set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets or renewable energy purchasing goals. Buying renewable energy is not only a core component of companies’ strategy to reduce their impact on the climate, it also makes good business sense.
“Today’s REBA launch demonstrates that large energy buyers from across every sector of the US economy, large and small, are committed to doing their part to solve this problem. At General Motors, we are proud to be a founding member,” said Rob Threlkeld, global manager, Sustainable Energy/Supply Reliability at General Motors.
Corporate energy consumers have the collective voice to change markets, and REBA will provide a forum to bring together companies to drive a sustainable future. Membership is available to any nonresidential energy buyer, as well as clean energy developers and other service providers committed to carbon-free energy. The association aims to open energy markets and offer greater choice for corporate energy buyers, focusing on innovations in policy, markets and technology. It will offer members a number of key services:
- Educational programs, tools and training to help companies prepare to buy clean energy at scale.
- Policy advocacy for corporate renewable energy buyers and their brands, supporting policies that promote access to clean energy in the United States.
- Research, data and communications to support market growth and the evolution of electricity systems around the world.
- International coordination via a network of supporting corporate renewables organizations to expand access to renewables in key global markets.
“Never before has such a diverse group of organizations, from every industry, from every sector, come together to form an association with a single, market-focused, mission-driven vision of a zero-carbon energy future,” said REBA’s inaugural CEO and former US Air Force executive, Miranda Ballentine. “Large energy buyers have the power to move markets.”
REBA was originally founded as a partnership between four NGOs—Rocky Mountain Institute, World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility—in 2014 to address major obstacles large corporate buyers faced in procuring and installing renewable energy. This successful collaboration has allowed the REBA community to grow to more than 200 large energy buyers and more than 150 clean energy developers and service providers. Building on the Buyers Principles and Future of Internet Power programs, participants in the REBA community have been a part of 98 percent of all large-scale US corporate renewable energy deals to date.
“We commend REBA and its members for their advocacy of policy solutions that seek to create more accessible pathways for consumers of all sizes to buy renewable energy,” said Steve Chriss, director of energy services at Walmart Inc. “These efforts will play a critically important role in pursuit of meeting the 60 gigawatt goal that REBA members have set.”