Report Ranks States for Easy Domestic Renewable Energy Procurement

A new study, “Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings”, released by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Arlington, Va., and the Information Technology Industry Council, Washington, D.C., ranks all 50 states for the first time based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy, such as solar and wind, for their operations.

A new study ranks all 50 states for the first time based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy, such as solar and wind, for their operations.

A new study ranks all 50 states for the first time based on the ease with which America’s most recognizable brands can procure domestic renewable energy, such as solar and wind, for their operations.

The study notes demand for clean energy among retailers and technology companies is expected to increase to 60 GW by 2025, the equivalent of powering more than 43 million homes. Retail and tech companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Walmart, are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean-energy production because of fossil-fuel price volatility and pollution concerns. The index is intended to inform business leaders and guide state policymakers, hoping to attract new job-creating businesses and foster economic growth.

“As adoption of the cloud accelerates, so does the energy consumption of the data centers that power the cloud. Meeting these energy needs with renewable energy is good for our business, the economy and the environment,” says Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of technology and civic engagement at Microsoft. “Our clean-energy investments provide economic and sustainability benefits to the communities where we operate while enhancing the reliability of the local grid. We hope this report will create opportunities to expand this work.”

In addition to ranking all 50 states, the report identifies barriers that inhibit states from growing their economies through domes- tic renewable energy. They include over-regulation and high artificial taxes that shut state power markets off from competition and regional cooperation to protect legacy fossil-fuel-electricity production. The report also includes examples of multiple states benefiting when they lower barriers, including a deal between an Illinois-based Ikea wind farm and a Virginia clean-energy developer.

The results show a wide disparity in clean-energy policy at the state level, making some states far more attractive to businesses that use large amounts of electricity.

The report recommends state policymakers focus on deregulating their power markets to enable customer choice of renewable energy and competition from renewable- energy producers. It urges states to lower artificial taxes that target their domestic clean-energy producers. The report also recommends allowing businesses to have onsite production, such as solar panels on their roofs or cutting-edge battery energy-storage technologies, to help ease power-grid demand during peak times. To back its findings, the report includes specific case studies where states succeeded and examples where barriers remain.

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