Groundswell and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) are joining forces to accelerate an equitable clean energy future for all by leveraging corporate renewable energy purchases to deliver local community benefits alongside clean energy.
Connecting these large corporate purchases to community-defined clean energy priorities through tools such as Request For Proposal (RFP) language and community engagement processes holds the potential to rapidly accelerate energy equity by sharing clean energy benefits with local communities. A fundamental element of the partnership will be bringing local frontline leaders together with corporate renewable energy executives to co-create solutions.
“REBA members share a vision of a resilient, zero-carbon energy system. Engaging with frontline communities is a key component to building a pathway to this vision that features a just and prosperous clean energy transition,” said REBA CEO Miranda Ballentine.
The market transforming power of corporate renewable energy purchases is enormous. More than half of all energy consumption in the United States comes from the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector. Large corporate buyers are already driving the market for renewable energy. Within just five years, corporate purchases resulted in the deployment of over 23 Gigawatts of new renewable energy projects in the United States. Just last year, corporate buyers announced an additional 9.33 GW of new renewable energy purchases.
Leveraging this scale to incorporate purchasing processes and RFP requirements that include local community priorities can deliver benefits beyond climate and environmental goals — realizing the full environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) potential of renewables.
“Large corporate energy buyers can build clean energy projects that also function as a service to the communities surrounding their facilities and installations. Because renewable energy procurement and development timelines are typically more than two years, we see this as a critical time for companies to collaborate with frontline communities who already know their local needs and priorities best,” said Lily Donge, Groundswell director of corporate innovation for communities, who is leading the program.
“At the end of the day, it’s about sharing power and being a good neighbor,” said Michelle Moore, CEO of Groundswell. “Giving local communities access to more affordable clean power by leveraging corporate buying power, co-locating solar and energy storage projects with critical municipal infrastructure to improve resilience, and creating workforce mobility opportunities in the solar sector — these are just three examples of the kinds of benefits we look forward to developing together.”
In order to make these collaboration-driven solutions possible, the partnership’s immediate next step is to evaluate the renewable procurement process and build on educational tools that REBA has long fostered in the private sector. Through the partnership, Groundswell and REBA will work with a wide range of frontline community and corporate leaders to identify, evaluate and test best practices and leverage points in the purchasing process.
News item from Groundswell