Renewable energy projects used to be just an eco-conscious move for people and companies wanting to reduce their carbon footprint because it’s the right thing to do. Now, companies that consume large of amounts of energy are seeing significant financial benefits by moving to renewable energy. And that has lead renewables to become a contributing member of the US economy.
To see how mainstream this has become while you were sleeping, check the RE100 list: http://there100.org/companies You’ll recognize many names. Briefly, some of the benefits of owning a renewable energy project are:
1. They provide renewable energy credits that have cash value. With each ton of carbon offset (not produced from traditional power sources), project owners can receive carbon credits which may be sold and traded in the green marketplace in accordance with applicable laws. [reference]
2. They provide a hedge against future price increases in power cost.
Renewable energy projects have the majority of their costs up front in the construction phase. After that, maintenance costs are typically small and predictable, and the actual energy harnessed from solar and wind is free. So, renewable energy projects are able to provide a flat cost for 10-20 years into the future. [reference]
3. They can provide an alternate power source when the grid goes down.
Nearly everything runs on electricity from computers to control valves to manufacturing. Backup power is a strategic asset in today’s electron-based economy. When the grid goes down, productivity comes to a screeching halt. With renewables, companies and municipalities can provide energy for mission critical operations, and provide excess power to the community. [reference]
4. Using renewable energy can shave peak demand charges. Many electric utilities charge a premium during peak hours. Since the cost of generating power from wind and solar has dropped 60% in the last 5 years, it is often less expensive than the peak pricing. This allows businesses to keep the rate they pay for grid electricity to the lowest tier. [reference]
5. They can be used as a primary power source. Microsoft, Apple and eBay among others use hydrogen fuel cells for generating a portion of their primary power. It has a lower operating cost compared to the grid, as well as a lower carbon footprint. [reference]
These are some of the most obvious reasons, and there are more niche reasons, depending on each organization’s needs. While doing the right thing is always right, organizations can also incorporate clean energy development into branding, marketing and communications to both share the benefits, and help others understand their commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable world.