Friday, July 17, 2015

This Massive Utility Wants More Renewable Energy Because Corporations Are Demanding It

High voltage power lines (Credit: Shutterstock) Click to Enlarge.
In June Alabama Power, one of the country’s largest electricity providers, filed a petition with the state’s Public Service Commission to add up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy over the next six years.  The utility, which serves over 1.4 million customers in Alabama, cited customer demand as a primary reason for adding all this renewable energy — specifically corporate customers.
Large companies demand a lot of power, especially those in the technology sector running things like data centers.  As these companies become more aware of their impact on climate change and develop updated policies, they can drive change at the local level through implementing a sustainable corporate culture.  Alabama Power’s move into renewables is just one example of how this can happen.

The World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute launched something called the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles in 2014 to help large renewable energy buyers like Walmart, Intel, IKEA, Target, and GM, get access to the power they need.  The program now includes some 34 companies demanding over 20 million megawatt hours of renewable energy to meet their near-term goals.
“We’ve got customer interest in renewables, and particularly in solar right now,” said Nick Sellers, Alabama Power vice president of regulatory and corporate affairs.  “It’s usually those customers that are under some sort of a mandate, either a government mandate or a corporate mandate.”

According to Alabama Power, much of the 500 megawatts of renewable energy — which is enough to serve about 100,000 homes — will come from solar power.  While the utility already has some 1,600 megawatts of hydro power available and 400 megawatts of wind from Kansas and Oklahoma, large-scale solar development is an entirely new direction for the company.

The proposal would allow Alabama Power to build its own renewable energy projects of up to 80 megawatts each or to purchase generation from other sources.

Read more at This Massive Utility Wants More Renewable Energy Because Corporations Are Demanding It

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