Over the last decade, many large-scale energy buyers (such as local governments and corporations) have set clean energy goals, driving a shift toward renewables within electricity systems. Since buyers consume a large amount of energy in the United States — over half of all energy consumption comes from the commercial and industrial sector — their actions can greatly influence the market by setting an example for innovative purchasing strategies and showing clear demand for renewable energy.

WRI’s U.S. Energy Team has several workstreams dedicated to supporting large energy buyers to realize their clean energy ambitions in cost-effective and efficient ways. This includes pathways such as innovative purchasing strategies, peer support and measuring and tracking renewable energy procurement data.

Accelerating Clean Energy Purchasing by Local Governments

More than 200 cities in the U.S. have goals to purchase renewable energy for 100% of their electricity needs within the coming decades. WRI helps local governments implement their clean energy goals through its work on the City Renewables Accelerator, a program run in partnership with RMI through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies. The City Renewables Accelerator provides technical assistance, education and resources for cities and counties purchasing renewables through large-scale physical and virtual power purchase agreements (PPAs), green tariffs, on-site solar on municipal facilities and community solar.


Innovative Clean Energy Purchasing Strategies

WRI helps energy buyers in the U.S. and beyond, including companies, undertake new and complex transactions to accelerate the market toward 100% clean energy. WRI has supported energy buyers in advanced purchasing practices that can facilitate the transition to 100% clean energy, such as 24/7 hourly matching of clean generation with customer load. We have also explored ways in which corporate clean energy buyers and cities with clean energy goals can collaborate to collectively meet their goals. Finally, WRI has collaborated on the development of buyers’ groups consisting of regional organizations, local governments and community groups who came together to increase the magnitude of their clean energy purchasing power.


Clean Energy Buyers Association

WRI is one of four NGOs that formerly led the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a coalition to empower multinational companies to transform electricity systems with renewable energy. That group has now transitioned into the Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA). Operating as its own organization since 2018, CEBA consists of over 330 energy customers and partners committed to achieving a 90% carbon-free U.S. electricity system by 2030. WRI serves on the organization’s Governing Board and Advisory Board.

Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles

The Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles convey the criteria that industry-leading, multinational companies seek when buying renewable energy from utilities and other suppliers. A group of large energy buyers developed the Buyers’ Principles to spur progress on renewable energy adoption and to add their perspective to the future of the U.S. energy and electricity system. WRI and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) facilitated these efforts.

WRI and WWF publicly launched the principles in July 2014 with 12 signatories. By June 2018, 75 companies had signed on, representing over 69 million MWh of annual demand in 2020. To learn more, visit CEBA's Buyers’ Principles webpage.


Cover image by Jeff Brown / Unsplash