Purchases by some of the nation’s largest corporations, as well as governments and agencies, led to a record total of voluntary “green” power purchases in 2008, according to a ClimateBiz report.
Intel and PepsiCo topped the list of buyers for Green-e Energy Certified renewable power, the Center for Resource Solutions announced late last month. A non-profit agency, the Center provides third-party certifications for the renewable power market.
The rankings were released a few days prior to California Senator Barbara Boxer predicting that Congress would draft legislation to put a national emissions cap-and-trade system in place prior to the December UN international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, which aim to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
“Green” Power Purchases
Green-e certified more than 2.8 million megawatt-hours worth of renewable power in 2008, 69% of the voluntary renewable energy certification market. The market for renewable energy certificates produced as a result of “green” power purchases and sales rose more than 55% in 2007, according to the Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab.
Intel stood out among peers with a record-setting single 1.3 megawatt power purchase last January. Intel and PepsiCo also ranked first and second respectively on the EPA Green Power Partnership National Top 50 and Fortune 500 lists.
Overall, Intel’s certified “green” power purchases are enough to supply nearly 50% of its US operations’ needs.
“Buying renewable energy for nearly 50% of our U.S. operations was an important element of our continuing, multifaceted efforts to support clean energy and the environment, which includes conservation, pilot solar installations and renewable electric supplies” Marty Sedler, Intel’s director of global utilities and infrastructure stated. “It is critical that all purchases are certified and validated by a respected, independent certification program like Green-e to ensure the highest quality and integrity of our actions.”
New legislation, thus far primarily at the state level, has been driving investment in and demand for renewable power. With the Obama administration now in power and a Democratic majority in Congress, the climate change action debate promises to be intense on Capitol Hill.
Besides saying that a national emissions cap-and-trade system legislation would be introduced this year, California Senator Boxer also laid out a set of six guiding climate change principles that she said would guide any future legislation.
Opponents of taking a more ambitious, proactive policy stance claim that the US cannot afford to constrain commerce and industry and hinder competitiveness at a time when the country is trying to weather a financial system crisis and deepening recession. They also claim that adding to an already record-setting government deficit and debt by investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation and unproven renewable energy technologies will be money ill spent.
Proponents counter that the US cannot afford not to tackle climate change and energy security head-on and now, arguing that doing so can stimulate the economy, create jobs and enhance competitiveness in the long-term while also protecting the environment and leveling the playing field when it comes to development and use of energy resources.