Money & Business

New Energy Alliance’s Big Goal: Make Renewables Easier to Buy

By / Apr 1, 2019 (zhongguo/E+/Getty Images Plus)

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, sporting a number of major companies, aims to help boost renewable energy by breaking down regulatory and institutional barriers that make it harder to buy.

Some of the world’s biggest companies are joining forces to make the process of buying renewable energy just a bit easier.

More than 300 companies—including marquee names such as Facebook, General Motors, Walmart, and Google—are taking part in the just-launched Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, which aims to build a marketplace of organizations interested in purchasing renewable energy for their companies. In a news release, REBA Board Chair Michael Terrell, the head of Google’s energy market strategy, said that the goal of the organization is to ease what hasn’t always been a simple process.

“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,” Terrell said. “Ultimately, sourcing clean energy should be as simple as clicking a button.”

But while this sounds easy, there are often institutional barriers that prevent direct access to different sources of energy. In comments to NPR, REBA CEO Miranda Ballentine noted that the complications of energy markets and regulations can make the process often difficult.

“They can’t actually say, ‘I want power from that wind project over there,’” Ballentine told the outlet. “They literally cannot contract directly for certain sources of power.”

The new organization has roots in a 2014 partnership between a number of NGOs, including the Rocky Mountain Institute, World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute, and Business for Social Responsibility. The former group helped bring together more than 200 large energy buyers—but with its relaunch, the organization has bold goals, including a plan to help launch 60 gigawatts of new renewable energy resources by 2025.

So how does the energy industry feel about all this? Well, the Edison Electric Institute told NPR that the organization is already working with many of the companies taking part in REBA, and will continue to do so.

“EEI already works closely with many REBA members, and we remain committed to partnering with large customers to help them make their renewable energy, climate, and sustainability goals a reality,” spokesman Brian Reil told the outlet.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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