When it comes to providing corporate renewable energy on the scale needed to attract big businesses, not all states are created equal. In a recent GreenBiz article, an analyst for the World Resource Institute cites nearly half of Fortune 500 companies are pursuing sustainability or renewable energy goals. How quickly they reach those goals depends in part on where they choose to locate.
A report from Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) ranks all 50 states according to how easy each makes it for businesses to purchase renewable energy.
For many innovative businesses, choosing a location to operate often comes down to the structure of a state’s electricity market.
From the article:
“Overall, states with deregulated electricity markets earned higher rankings because companies in those states had ‘retail choice,’ meaning customers can choose which energy provider supplies their electricity.”
That could lead to the logical conclusion that states with regulated markets (with a monopoly utility determining the source of electricity it provides to all customers) are less competitive. That assumption could be wrong.
Iowa has a regulated electricity market and still ranks as one of the easiest states for big companies to purchase renewable energy to power their operations. That’s because Iowa supports a program of “green tariffs.”
Also from the article:
“A green tariff is a large-scale purchasing program where customers can work with their utility to source up to 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources through a fixed rate.”
Green tariff programs across the U.S. have been credited with producing 450 megawatts of affordable renewable energy. That avoids an estimated 554,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would have been generated, clearly illustrating one of the benefits of green business practices.
Creativity and flexibility are essential for states with regulated markets to retain and attract businesses seeking renewable energy options. Utilities, regulators and large customers must cooperate to establish an easy and cost-effective process for procuring affordable renewable energy.