Increasing Engagement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance continues to leverage the voice of large energy buyers to guide federal policy discussions.

As an independent agency that oversees components of natural gas, oil, hydropower, and the electricity industry sector, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decisions influence how fast the U.S. power sector can adopt zero-carbon energy sources. Therefore, it is critical that the needs and priorities of large energy buyers are considered during FERC’s regulatory review process to ensure that resulting policies green the grid for all energy customers while addressing reliability, equity, and cost allocation concerns. 

One of REBA’s key priorities is to support ambitious decarbonization goals of large energy buyers by increasing access to clean energy through well-designed organized wholesale markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs), which also requires development of transmission infrastructure. FERC’s jurisdiction over the electric industry – including regulation of interstate transmission and oversight of wholesale power markets – reinforces the importance of raising awareness of energy consumer needs through available platforms.

FERC provides the ability to provide feedback on proposals being considered by the agency through a comment filing period, which serves as means to engage and gather views of stakeholders. REBA submitted a filing in response to the Commission’s June 23-24 Technical Conference on Resource Adequacy in the Western Interconnection (Docket AD21-14) to increase awareness of energy buyer priorities in the West, support state-led efforts to coordinate on electricity markets, and highlight the benefits of RTOs in resource adequacy planning. These comments closely followed REBA’s first-ever standalone filing at FERC highlighting the value of organized wholesale markets, which was submitted on June 25 as part of the Commission’s review of the financial incentives utilities receive for joining an RTO (Docket RM20-10). 

In addition, REBA has elevated to FERC the need for a more competitive wholesale market structure and advocated for a technical conference on the benefits that can be unlocked in the Southeast. REBA and its Clean Energy Coalition partners—the Advanced Energy Economy, the Advanced Energy Buyers Group, and the Solar Energy Industries Association— submitted comments on March 15 and April 14 urging FERC to thoroughly assess the Southeast Energy Exchange Market proposal (Docket ER21-1111), which would enhance existing bilateral energy trading among utilities, to ensure it is just and reasonable for all ratepayers in the Southeast.

This series of filings in 2021 marks a monumental step forward for REBA in its engagement with FERC. With recent announcements from FERC to address important topics including transmission planning, cost allocation, and generator interconnection, REBA looks forward to additional engagement while representing large energy buyers in federal policy discussions. 
To learn more about REBA’s ongoing involvement at FERC and get involved, contact the REBA’s Policy Innovations team at innovation@rebuyers.org.

Call to Fund State Involvement in Organized Wholesale Power Market Expansion

REBA joins key peer organizations urging Congress to support a dedicated program at the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity (DOE-OE) and the State Energy Program (SEP) that would provide technical and financial assistance to states related to organized wholesale power market expansion.

Organized wholesale power markets are essential for accelerating decarbonization efforts in the US. These markets are important mechanisms for ensuring grid reliability while reducing costs for energy customers in the transition to a carbon-free economy. While there is significant momentum at the federal level for increasing energy infrastructure and organized markets, REBA recognizes that states face additional barriers to participating in these markets. These barriers include the technical capacity to align with existing markets and to study the specific costs and benefits associated with joining a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) or Independent System Operator (ISO). Congress should provide funding support to states through a dedicated program at the DOE-OE and the reauthorization of the SEP. Funding for these programs will facilitate greater state involvement in developing well-designed, customer-centric organized wholesale electricity markets that benefit end-use customers.   

Click below to download the full letter for additional details and list of signatories.

REBA 7/21/21 Letter

Building a Business Case for Renewable Energy

Why should your company buy renewable energy anyway? Many sustainability professionals see renewables as a way to combat climate change. But when you dig deeper, you’ll find that every department at every organization will view the reasons for going carbon-free in a different way. Communications might see it as an opportunity for good PR. Finance might appreciate the budget certainty that comes with some types of renewable energy. The list goes on…

A well-articulated business case for renewable energy not only jumpstarts an organization’s procurement process; it helps to level-set across an organization by providing a constant reminder of the company’s why and guiding the organization towards the types of renewable energy solutions that best align with its goals and values.

REBA’s member exclusive Building a Business Case for Renewable Energy Primer walks new large energy buyers through the process by outlining questions to ask to uncover company drivers and to promote action. The Primer examines criteria that may inform choices about the types of renewable energy solutions that work best for each organization, and offers lessons learned that illustrate how experienced buyers have approached the business case for their organizations.

  • What is your leadership team’s approach to renewables energy? Does the company want to lead or just keep up with the evolving market?
  • Are customers or investors asking your company power its operations sustainably? Could making the switch to renewable energy give you a leg up against your competition?
  • Could prioritizing renewable energy help you attract or retain talent? Potential employees are increasingly concerned about working for companies that are making the world a better place.
  • Might switching to renewable energy help control future costs or reduce your exposure to market volatility?

In many geographies, a wide variety of renewable energy solutions are available. Once you have your business case and have received support from the necessary stakeholders, the next step is to determine which types of renewable energy solutions are likely to be successful for your organization. Sometimes, creating the business case is intertwined with identifying suitable solution options; the processes aren’t always neat and sequential.When you truly understand the benefits of renewable energy to your organization, you will find it easier to gain initial buy-in, to identify best-fit solution types, to eventually obtain specific project approvals.

REBA members can access the Building a Business Case for Renewable Energy Primer through REBA InterConnect, a digital hub to help member companies accelerate their renewable energy goals. Not a member? Learn more about REBA membership options.

REBA Member Highlight: High Road Energy Marketing LLC

This blog series highlights the inaugural group of companies that joined the REBA community through its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion membership.

What prompted your organization to join the REBA community?

When I first heard about REBA, I thought it was too good to be true. We were discussing ways of putting our High Road Energy Marketing (HREM) concept for delivering up to 700 MW of utility-scale solar in front of large-scale renewable buyers and one of my partners mentioned this organization named the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, that focused on bringing together organizations with an interest in a greener future. After some research and a discussion with Kevin Haley, Senior Director, Membership & Philanthropy, I came to find that REBA was everything it was touted to be and MORE, much more. The first evidence of REBA’s commitment to sustainability and a greener future was their DEI initiative. Through the DEI membership, focus groups, the REBA Institute Beyond the Megawatt Together Tuesday lecture series, HREM has become an active participant in all things REBA, and that is only in the last 6 months.

Beyond our internal REBA participation, REBA has informed our discussions with potential buyers. For a small energy provider, the REBA tools and resources are well prepared and easy to use. As a result of the REBA knowledge tools, we have been successful in bilateral conversations with household name corporations. Something that would not have occurred in such a short time frame without the lift we get from our REBA membership.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to renewable energy procurement?

Of course, most business is based on relationships. During a pandemic and social lock down, relationships are difficult to develop. However, REBA through its forums, webcasts, and virtual conferences has provided a platform to keep people connected and help build connections throughout the industry. These relationships have led to several bilateral conversations between High Road Energy Marketing and some Fortune 500 companies. This would have been unimaginable without the programs and support offered by REBA.

What does the future of renewables look like for your organization?

As renewable energy purchases continue to increase (13.6 GW in 2018, 20.1 GW in 2019 and 23.7 GW in 2020) and corporations set increasingly aggressive net-zero carbon emissions targets, reductions in Scope 2 emissions through corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) will continue to be a vital part of the solution. With this growth and opportunity comes the responsibility for diversity, equity and inclusion from corporations, providers, service providers and organizations. HREM has built a reputation that will center it at the intersection of the demand for renewable energy projects and concern for diversity, equity and inclusion. By offering turn-key renewable energy solutions to large scale buyers, High Road Energy Marketing, a Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE), will assist companies with meeting their environmental, social justice and governance goals.

What is the most interesting renewables project you’ve worked on during your time with the organization?

The most interesting aspect of our work involves developing a community engagement strategy. In addition to engaging a diverse network of Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC), and other minority suppliers, HREM believes it is important to make a direct investment in underserved communities.
We have reached out to Prairie View A&M University and the National Black Farmers Association to explore establishing a program to introduce Black farmers to the promise of renewable energy as a means to preserve and protect their land and heritage. The removal of Black farmers from their land is well documented. The proportion of Black farmers in the U.S. has shrunk, from 14% in 1920, to just under 2% in 2017 and Black farmers in the South have lost 90% of their land in the last century. In partnership with Black farmers, the renewable energy industry can provide a possible lifeline. HREM will be in the forefront of that initiative.

Envision a future where every organization has a path to renewable energy – what is the next step towards a zero-carbon energy future?

As I mentioned earlier, HREM has been an Energy Supplier member of REBA for almost six (6) months and has realized enormous value from the membership and discussions with passionate and committed industry leaders. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Get Involved

Learn more about REBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Membership here.

Energy Buyers Can Drive the Next Generation of Clean Energy Technologies

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) Clean Technology program activates large energy buyers across multiple industries to engage with pre-commercial clean energy technologies by providing resources and tools to help navigate the complex clean technology ecosystem. 

The clean energy technologies needed to achieve the necessary deep cuts in global emissions by 2030 already exist today, but deployment and widespread use of technologies that are not on the market yet are necessary to reach net-zero by 2050. Large energy buyers are uniquely positioned to help expedite the commercialization of next generation technologies by testing pre-commercial technologies in real-world market conditions and by providing critical demand side feedback. However, navigating the clean technology ecosystem can be challenging for those unfamiliar with the landscape and even experienced buyers encounter barriers and challenges when considering new clean energy technology solutions.

Understanding Barriers for Engaging with Clean Technologies

REBA’s clean technology workshop series, Unlocking Buyers’ Potential to Deploy Clean Energy Technologies, explored the key barriers large energy buyers face when navigating new clean energy technologies. Through this series of facilitated peer-to-peer learning sessions, energy buyers shared challenges, such as the need for technical assistance to evaluate clean energy technologies at the level of granularity needed to build a business case, tools to help understand risks and justify investment costs, and resources to ultimately build organizational alignment on the potential benefits of new pre-commercial clean energy technology. 

Potential Solutions for Building the Business Case 

Workshop participants identified actionable steps for developing better resources and creating deeper connections for energy buyers looking to test and demonstrate clean energy technologies. Namely, large energy buyers continue to need forums to connect with other buyers to discuss and brainstorm solutions to the unique challenges when trying to build organizational alignment to integrate a potentially beneficial new technology. Buyers seek to improve connections to verified clean energy technology products and providers and additional tools and resources to help evaluate potential technology solutions. Last and importantly, buyers need financial evaluation tools, educational resources, and information on policy or market incentives to better understand the financial risk associated with new technologies and the potential return on investment of a project.  

Get Involved

REBA is creating tools and resources for buyers to host clean energy technology demonstration projects, evaluate potential mechanisms and approaches to de-risk projects, and facilitate opportunities for technology providers to pitch partnership and demonstration opportunities. REBA members can learn more about upcoming clean technology resources and workshops here.

Not yet a part of the REBA community? Become a REBA member to access clean technology workshops and resources.


1 International Energy Agency Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, pg. 14-15 (2021)

Empowering Communities: Connecting Value to Values

(Photo courtesy of Groundswell.)

For large energy buyers, renewable energy procurement is increasingly being utilized to drive not only financial and environmental, but also social impact. These projects can serve multiple roles: a long-term financial investment, a commitment to the climate, and a driver of social value. Alongside achieving goals including 100% renewable energy, 24/7 renewable energy, and Science-Based Targets, large buyers are incorporating climate justice as an important component of “next generation” renewable energy procurement. 

For communities, particularly those who are traditionally disadvantaged, renewable energy projects can be long-term investments in their economic future, from growing tax revenue, providing skilled jobs, and building multi-generational wealth. Access to renewable energy can increase the resiliency of local grid networks and provide tangible public health benefits. Human-induced warming attributes for 37% of heat-related deaths and people of color are disproportionally impacted by air pollution. Climate justice is not only a priority, but mandatory if we are to together achieve a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon energy future. 

This multi-faceted issue calls for a space for all stakeholders to collaborate for long-term, mutually advantageous benefits. A framework for such a forum was derived from conversations between corporates, local-change champions, and third-party organizations, facilitated by the REBA Institute in partnership with Groundswell in early 2021. The Corporates and Communities Engagement Primer explores:

  • How can a company start the community engagement journey? 
  • What are the best and most equitable approaches to working with communities? 
  • What pathways exist to create mutual advantages for companies and communities?  
  • How do community partnerships differ from traditional procurement practices?

No one size fits all. The primer does not prescribe specific solutions but provides an educational and inspirational guide to spark and continue solution-oriented discussions, with additional linked resources to support all stakeholders to take concrete steps toward a shared zero-carbon future. The Corporate and Community Engagement Decision Framework is a step-by-step interactive companion tool to demonstrate how choices to engage communities early in the procurement process can generate mutual benefits. Both may be used in complement to create shared value and vision from renewable energy project ideation through implementation.

The REBA Institute and Groundswell collaboratively developed the Corporate and Community Engagement Primer and the Corporate and Community Engagement Decision Framework. Read the primer and explore the tool at the REBA Institute: Beyond the Megawatt. These resources are only the beginning. Let us know how well these tools are working for you. Have they helped you start a process, project, or sparked conversation with key internal or external stakeholders? Contact us at communications@reba-institute.org to share your progress and help us take this journey together. The REBA Institute, along with partners including Groundswell, will continue to work to help large buyers go Beyond the Megawatt.


1 https://www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/latest-news-headlines/beyond-the-ppa-quest-for-24-7-carbon-free-power-is-reshaping-energy-buying-64195343
2 https://www.greenbiz.com/article/inside-salesforces-bold-play-supply-chain-leadership
3 https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210513005242/en/
4 https://corporate.target.com/article/2021/06/target-forward
5 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01058-x
6 https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/18/eabf4491
7 https://groundswell-web-assets.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/working-wisdom/WW_Summary_Formatted.pdf

REBA Member Highlight: Kanin Energy, Inc

This blog series highlights the inaugural group of companies that joined the REBA community through its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion membership.

Heavy industry is perhaps the most difficult sector for carbon abatement because of its scale and the requirements for a solution in terms of technology and capital. Both globally and in the U.S., the industrial sector is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and accounts for approximately one fourth of emissions. These emissions have only risen in recent years. 

This is where Kanin Energy, a minority female-led clean energy company, has identified an untapped and “wasted” resource as a highly effective strategy for impacting climate change and accelerating emission reductions. That waste resource is heat, and lots of it, with approximately 290,000 petajoules of waste heat released from heavy industrial operations every year, globally.  

Kanin Energy focuses on transforming industrial waste heat into emission free baseload power – at no cost to facilities. In fact, the facilities are paid for that heat. Kanin’s main objective is to decarbonize heavy industry by providing industrial operators a clean source of electricity from their waste heat through the installation of waste heat to power (WHP) projects. 

WHP captures heat energy from industrial processes, that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere, and turns it into useful baseload electric power. WHP delivers a zero-emission alternative to the use of fossil fuels to provide a reliable 24/7 electricity resource. In addition to improving the reliability of the grid, WHP can support energy resiliency, energy efficiency, and act as an economic driver in heavy industrial regions. According to a Waste Heat to Power Market Assessment by ICF International, there is currently over 15 GW of technical potential for WHP generation in the U.S. alone. 

Kanin’s goal is to show the value of WHP as a clean baseload energy alternative and untapped resource in the North American market. While there is a lot of attention and solutions for decarbonizing transportation and electricity, there is not much focus on decarbonizing industry. Kanin believes the business model for implementing industrial decarbonization can be disrupted to accelerate adoption of clean infrastructure. Waste heat is a perfect case study for business model innovation; the commercial technology offers a low-hanging fruit for industrial facilities looking to lower emissions, and ultimately catalyzing other decarbonization and energy efficiency projects. 

To accelerate WHP as a solution to net zero, Kanin has joined the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) to remove barriers for renewable energy procurement in the industrial sector. Kanin is thrilled to announce its involvement with REBA as a DEI founding member. With markets trending for resilient and reliable 24/7 power, and time-bound commitments to meet climate goals, readily available solutions, like WHP, are not only beneficial, but essential.  

Get Involved
Learn more about REBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Membership here

Raising the Industry Standard: Low Carbon Solar

Large energy buyers and project developers are starting to pay attention to the carbon in their solar supply chain.  What’s under consideration and will it raise the industry standard for renewable energy procurement? The REBA Institute’s Decarbonizing Industrial Supply Chain Energy (DISC-e) program brings together large energy buyers and their partners to make sure the energy that goes into renewable energy projects is as clean as the energy that comes out.  

Why is low-carbon solar, or considering carbon emissions associated with the full life cycle of solar panels, an issue the energy industry needs to address?  Solar manufacturing represents a small percentage of global emissions, but demand for solar is forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate 3 to 5 times higher than the average industrial commodity (e.g. steel, which accounts for 8% of global emission alone).  If business as usual continues, this growth risks putting the carbon impact of solar panels on par with aluminum manufacturing, the fourth largest industrial commodity from an emissions standpoint, by 2040. 

Commercial and industrial sector energy buyers currently participating in the DISC-e Solar Working Group have indicated the intent to prioritize request for proposal (RFP) bids with low-carbon solar panels as early as next year. Incorporating specific and verifiable environmental, social, governance (ESG) metrics into renewable energy procurement RFP processes is a clear demand-signal, and creates an opportunity to raise the energy industry standard to low-carbon solar.

By tackling the solar supply chain now, energy buyers can set a low-carbon standard that will support the sustainable growth of the industry while mitigating the environmental impact and potential reputational risk that may otherwise impede that growth.  Want to add your voice to the conversation?  Join DISC-e’s next Solar Working Group meeting on Wednesday, July 7 at 12 PM ET — no prior participation required. This meeting is the fourth in a series of discussions and will solicit feedback on DISC-e’s proposed strategy for solar supply chain decarbonization.  Email jen@reba-institute.org to register and learn more about the program.

REBA Member Highlight: Solar Stewards

This blog series highlights the inaugural group of companies that joined the REBA community through its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion membership.

Solar Stewards was born on the back of a church envelope during a Sunday mass.   Pope Francis had just published Laudato si’, a global call to recognize the sanctity of our Earth.   Growing increasingly tired of disparities witnessed within renewable deployment, I felt inspired to answer this call with innovation and resolution.   As a life-long entrepreneur, I knew the business community had to play a key role.

Within this impactful letter, we as a global community are called not only to improve our relationship with the environment, but to explore the root cause of environmental injustices within our own humanity. These injustices are enabled by cognitive dissonance in the global corporate industry, whereby we have conveniently and carelessly dissociated the environment from the people, and put short-term gain above sustainable practices and profits.  It is no longer enough to have a broad climate action goal which neglects the very populations most vulnerable to climate change.   It is missing the mark to create complex deal structures and still fail to include under-resourced communities and businesses.  It is a missed opportunity to overlook the value of including community engagement and branding within a carbon reduction strategy, and solely focus on metrics that do not engage a customer and consumer base.

Beyond a trend, there is now a movement to reframe renewable energy deployment to realize all of the value propositions Solar Stewards brings to renewable energy buyers.  Our Social RECs™ are a tool for companies to recognize the value of both social and environmental impact, together, within new and existing renewable energy markets.  When incorporating these social benefits, it’s important to follow three guidelines to ensure successful outcomes:

Focus your impact

Be intentional with the communities and initiatives important to your customers and your brand.   Where does your customer base live, work, and play?   What issues are important to your brand?  Climate Stewards can tailor Social REC™ portfolios to directly connect with the social causes and clientele that resonate with business objectives.

Be more than a buyer

Our Climate Stewards are renewable energy buyers leveraging the visibility, community engagement, and tangible impact of a Solar Stewards program. As such, longer commitments to realize and report impact are customary, as true social and environmental impact is long-term.   Solar Stewards delivers the opportunity for lasting benefits to community, to climate, and to your brand.

Choose Social RECs™ 

Social RECs™ accomplish a litany of goals from carbon reduction, to diversity equity and inclusion, to brand awareness and new market development.  As the market recognizes this shift in buyer consciousness, we shall inevitably see social claims with no direct connection to communities or accountability.  To avoid ‘socialwashing’ specify Social RECs™, which utilize decades of environmental, social, and racial justice frameworks.   As a woman and minority owned small business, Solar Stewards understands first-hand both business and social impact.

Whether you are a CEO or a Pope, the message is clear:  Climate action must focus on humanity.   

Get Involved

Learn more about REBA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Membership here

Clean Energy Technology Requires Critical Investments to Drive Decarbonization

REBA calls for Federal research, development, and demonstration funding increase to accelerate clean energy technology development and deployment.

In May, REBA signed onto a letter to Congressional leaders requesting a multibillion-dollar increase for vital clean energy technology research, development, demonstration (RD&D), and commercial deployment activities at the Department of Energy (DOE).  This FY22 appropriations increase would provide the critical investment needed to support the development and deployment of clean energy technologies to drive decarbonization by 2050. Joined by over 100 organizations, the letter emphasized the importance of increasing funding to:

The Importance of Increasing RD&D Funding 

While the technologies needed to achieve the necessary deep cuts in global emissions by 2030 are readily available today, many of the technologies required for a full clean energy transition by 2050 are not yet commercially viable. Private-public investment is critical to addressing barriers and unlocking market opportunities for new promising clean energy technologies. Increasing federal investments in new clean energy technologies supports the American innovation ecosystem, which has historically been a competitive edge for domestic workers, innovators and businesses competing in the global energy markets. Recently the U.S. has fallen behind other nations that are investing heavily in energy R&D. It is critical that the Federal government accelerate investments to create the robust set of clean energy technologies required to reduce emissions, drive economic recovery, and achieve deep decarbonization.

Why Is Increasing RD&D Funding Important to Energy Buyers?

Large-energy buyers in the commercial and industrial sectors have an important role during the demonstration and commercialization stages by providing crucial product feedback and testing emerging technologies in market conditions. Increasing federal funding for clean energy RD&D will provide the support needed to accelerate those later stages of innovation and match private sector funds, which currently make up almost all funding for mature technologies. Large-energy buyers accelerate the market demand for affordable low-and zero-carbon technologies to meet their climate goals, but public investment is critical to propel energy innovation at the rate needed to compete and confront climate change. 

Get Involved

If you are interested in learning more about REBA’s Clean Tech workstream, email innovation@rebuyers.org.

If you are interested in becoming a REBA member to access additional clean tech content and additional resources on the REBA InterConnect, our member portal, our member portal, please contact the REBA Membership Team at membership@rebuyers.org


Citations

1International Energy Agency, Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector 2021 p. 14
2Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission Columbia Center of Global Energy Policy 2020p. 14 
3International Energy Agency, “Public Energy R&D as a Share of GDP for Selected Countries, 2012-2019,” July 2020 https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/public-energy-r-and-d-as-a-share-of-GDP-in-selected-countries-2012-2019
4Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission Columbia Center of Global Energy Policy 2020p. 23
5Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission Columbia Center of Global Energy Policy 2020p. 23