Last month, twelve major corporations announced a combined goal of buying 8.4 million megawatt hours of renewable energy each year and called for market changes to make these large-scale purchases possible. Their commitment shows that demand for renewables has reached the big time.
We're proud that eight of the twelve are EDF Climate Corps host organizations: Bloomberg, Facebook, General Motors, Hewlett Packard, Proctor & Gamble, REI, Sprint and Walmart. The coalition, brought together by the World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute, is demanding enough renewable energy to power 800,000 homes a year. And while it's great to see these big names in the headlines, they're not alone in calling for clean energy: 60 percent of the largest U.S. businesses have set public goals to increase their use of renewables, cut carbon pollution or both.
Companies want renewable energy because it makes good business sense: it’s clean, diversifies their energy supply, helps them hedge against fuel price volatility and furthers their greenhouse gas reduction goals. Renewables are now the fastest-growing power generation sector, and by 2018, they’re expected to make up almost a quarter of the global power mix. Prices of solar panels have dropped 75 percent since 2008, and in some parts of the country, wind is already cost-competitive with coal and gas.
By Brian Hartmann, 2010 Climate Corps Fellow at Bloomberg, MBA candidate at Erb Institute, University of Michigan, Member of Net Impact
On my first day as an EDF Climate Corps fellow, I walked into the Bloomberg L.P. offices in New York City and was completely blown away by the remarkable lighting displays throughout the building.
A quick tour revealed that the building has three primary functions:
- Office space
- Data centers
- Broadcast studios
I immediately realized that the bright, colorful lighting in the building was primarily installed for its artistic value and not for its functionality. I understood that my goal for the summer was to find ways of increasing energy efficiency for Bloomberg, and removing this type of lighting would be an easy way to do just that. But it wasn't that easy. By recommending that the lighting be replaced, I would be taking away from the building’s aesthetics, a unique part of the company’s culture. I knew that I needed to dig around for other options that wouldn't compromise the building’s multiple purposes – not even the artistic ones. Bloomberg has already reduced its energy consumption by 11 percent in three years, while simultaneously adding space and employees. I figured that if Bloomberg could benefit the environment while expanding its business, I could certainly get creative with my dilemma. Read more