Push by Tech Industry to Invest in Renewable Energy in Coal Country

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享David Ferris for E&E:When the news hits that a company has bought into a monster renewable energy project, chances are that company is the likes of Facebook, Microsoft or Google. Now those tech darlings are using a new vehicle to encourage other companies to do the same — especially in places where coal power reigns supreme, like South Carolina or Kentucky.Representatives from these tech firms were headline speakers at a meeting late last week of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a new but fast-growing group that intends to make direct purchase of clean power easier for humbler sorts of firms, like hoteliers, clothiers and aluminum manufacturers.The agenda of the meeting, held at Microsoft Corp.’s headquarters here, didn’t specifically encourage companies to locate their projects in utility service territories where the conversation about renewables is uncomfortable. Speakers said that costs matter, as does the public relations value of siting a project nearby.But another message was unmistakable: If companies want their clean-energy purchases to tip the scales against climate change, they ought to use their pocketbooks to sway utilities and states that aren’t much interested.“If you’re trying to change the market,” said Bill Weihl, the director of sustainability for Facebook Inc., to the 280 attendees, “it’s useful to think, ‘How do I change the market there?’” As it plans for a new data center, Microsoft is considering where the renewable energy will come from, said Janous, the company’s chief energy strategist, in an interview. That includes a strategy that speakers were encouraging REBA members to follow — to site renewable projects in regions where renewables aren’t part of the conversation.Janis said that strategy was a key factor in why Microsoft sited its latest renewable project, a 20 MW solar farm, in Virginia, where coal power is a mainstay of electricity generation and where the state’s renewable energy portfolio goal is a mere 7 percent by 2021.Microsoft, which claims it achieved carbon neutrality four years ago, has an obligation to pass its lessons on, Janous said.“If the industry hasn’t changed,” Janous said, “then we’ve failed.”Full article: Tech giants lead campaign to bring renewables to reluctant states Push by Tech Industry to Invest in Renewable Energy in Coal Countrylast_img read more