China intends to advance ambitious climate action, and research shows the country is already making progress. The country's coal consumption has likely peaked, while renewable energy capacity has expanded significantly.
At his Senate confirmation hearing, Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil who has been nominated as the next secretary of State, provided measured and carefully crafted answers, but did little to reassure the American public that he would lead on climate change.
Last year brought huge political shocks to the environment and development communities. During WRI’s Annual Stories to Watch event, Andrew Steer highlighted how these trends may affect U.S. and international climate policy, business and investment, global energy markets and more this year.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump assured Americans he would preside over a time of rising employment, a growing economy and cheap, abundant, reliable energy. Five charts show why clean energy is key to keeping those promises.
As 2017 begins, China is poised to leap ahead of the United States on clean energy to become the most important player in the global market.
WRI brings U.S. companies seeking more renewable energy together with traditional, coal-intensive electric utilities to jointly advance new, cost-effective renewable energy generation. Since 2015, businesses working with WRI have contracted more than 450 megawatts of new solar generation through regulated utilities in Nevada and North Carolina – equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road.
Corporate demand for renewable energy is a central driver of clean energy growth in the United States. In 35 states, electricity customers must buy power through their local utility, so companies cannot purchase local renewable energy unless their utility offers it. Companies are setting ambitious renewable energy targets and considering the ease of purchasing renewable energy when deciding where to locate new facilities.
WRI helps utilities meet corporate demand for new renewable energy without impacting other customers. WRI’s Charge team brings together regulated coal-intensive utilities – often in politically conservative states with limited clean energy requirements – with their largest customers to agree on optional rates for renewable energy, called green tariffs. WRI provides feedback to utilities on green tariff proposals to help make them attractive to regulators and corporate electricity buyers.
In partnership with other NGOs, WRI amplifies the collective voice of large buyers through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a coalition to empower multinational companies to transform electricity systems by cost-effectively scaling up renewable energy. WRI also created the Corporate Renewable Energy Strategy Map, which shows states where companies can more easily meet their clean energy goals. Utilities and states actively seek to be included on the map and frequently ask about creating green tariffs as a means to attract economic development.
Major utilities are creating voluntary programs to rapidly expand access to new renewable energy for their largest customers. Since 2015, green tariffs at monopoly, coal-intensive utilities have led to contracts for 450 megawatts of new solar energy capacity, which will help utilities annually avoid over half a million tons of carbon dioxide emissions – comparable to taking 120,000 passenger vehicles off the road. Contracts for an additional 500 megawatts of new solar energy are under negotiation, and more utilities are now replicating green tariffs.
By creating access to renewable energy for companies and aligning the interests of utilities with their customers, WRI and REBA partners are moving the conversation beyond politics, creating bipartisan support for measures that contribute to local economic development, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaner air.
Transitioning to a clean energy economy in the United States would cost $320 billion a year from 2020 to 2050, finds a new report from the Risky Business Project, but we'd save $366 billion a year in reduced fossil fuel costs alone.
Mayors don't have the luxury of ignoring on-the-ground hazards of our changing planet – and fortunately, they're not.