For the last several years growth in the renewable energy sector in the U.S. has been driven by large corporations. Leading corporate entities, like many cities and states, are making commitments for moving to 100% renewable energy. These 175 companies have made the commitment to go 100% renewable
The health care industry is also making bold moves towards renewable energy since they must have reliable power to care for patients. Renewable energy is now the most cost-effective form of energy in most areas and with on site battery storage the institutions have the power when they need it. In addition to the health care and medical industry, industrial, commercial, and agricultural companies are also moving to renewables.
One of the main driving factors that is encouraging the aggressive move to clean energy sources is cost. The cost of producing electricity with renewables has now become less than even natural gas in most areas and battery storage costs are going down as well. The assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy said in April that the cost of storage in five years will be one fifth what it is today!
The largest internet and communications companies in the world are leading the way for the renewable growth among corporations with Facebook, AT&T, and Microsoft being the frontrunners. These companies are saving millions annually just by reducing their kilowatt-hour costs a few cents.
LEGO, one of the RE 100 companies dedicated to being 100% renewables, recently announced they have met their goal three years ahead of schedule. The LEGO Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of creative play materials, and wants to make a positive impact on the planet and the children who will inherit it. Since 2012 the LEGO Group has invested approximately USD 890 million in offshore wind power. In May 2017 the company joined RE100 and achieved its ambition to balance 100% of its energy use with energy from renewable sources.
Utility companies are beginning to move more and more to renewable energy
Independent renewable energy developers are taking advantage of regulatory reforms and deregulation which is forcing utilities to be more competitive. In the beginning the argument against renewable energy was that it was more expensive than traditional forms of power generation but that is true no more. Utility companies must offer the lowest cost energy available or potentially lose billions in revenue from large corporations that may set up business in other areas that offer lower utility costs.
For large corporations particularly, the decision-making process comes down to economics. When one of the largest expenses for a company is the cost of electricity just small savings per kilowatt-hour can be huge savings.
“Solar is booming in Texas [at present] but not in Kentucky, but that doesn’t mean solar developers aren’t active in those regions. The most coal-hardened state in the U.S., Kentucky has put solar panels on the roof of its coal museum. That’s a very symbolic development,” said Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables Senior Research Analyst Colin Smith.
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