Building Efficiency Accelerator and REBA Spur the Transition to Renewable Power

In 2016, 23 cities working with WRI’s Energy team drafted plans to make buildings more energy efficient; the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is bringing more than 60 major companies and utilities together to boost clean electricity demand and supply.

To transform global energy systems, government and business must find new ways to work together. The WRI Energy team works with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to bring these two crucial players together in order to boost energy efficiency and create new markets for renewable power.

WRI’s Building Efficiency Accelerator has helped 28 cities and other government entities on five continents—from Medellin to Milwaukee—draft concrete plans to make buildings more energy efficient. The Accelerator, which supports Sustainable Energy for All and is co-led by Johnson Controls and WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, works with 30 international organizations to turn these urban plans into action. WRI offers specific guidance in four areas to ease the transformation to sustainable power: updated building codes, green building certification, energy-efficient purchasing and finance for building efficiency. Accelerating Energy Efficiency: Eight Actions for Urban Leaders, a new WRI publication, offers an outline for action.

The clean energy transformation requires more than greater efficiency in current markets; it requires expansion into new markets, including those in developing countries where 1.3 billion people lack reliable energy access, and in developed countries where many consumers struggle to pay for conventional energy. WRI works to reduce urban energy use and helps producers and distributors find new ways to deliver renewable power and ensure equitable energy access.

Too many utilities are trapped between an old business model and the demands of the future. We’re helping them find ways to work through that.

Jennifer Layke

Global Director, Energy Program

In 2016, businesses working with WRI contracted to buy more than 450 megawatts of new solar power generation from traditionally coal-intensive utilities—the equivalent of taking 120,000 cars off the road. WRI’s Charge initiative works with utilities and electricity buyers to expand and speed deployment of renewable energy. A key part of Charge is the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), created in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute, WWF and Business for Social Responsibility. REBA helps companies find opportunities to purchase clean energy, and encourages utilities to design products that meet this new demand while they continue to deliver reliable, affordable electricity to individual consumers. As a result, more and more utilities are offering their largest customers the option to buy renewable energy.