When I joined Google, in 2007, wind and solar were still nascent technologies, often too expensive to make business sense for most companies. Today, though, we’re living in a whole different world. Clean energy is outcompeting fossil fuels on grids around the globe and companies and organizations are responding by buying record-setting amounts of clean power. For Google, 2018 was the second year in a row in which we matched 100 percent of our global electricity consumption with renewable sources. It’s truly amazing that renewable energy has come so far, so fast.
And yet, the degree of progress has varied from organization to organization. Larger companies like Google have been able to purchase clean energy because we have the scale, resources, and expertise to sign complex, long-term deals or partner directly with utilities or governments. However, for most organizations, their energy procurement hasn’t changed much since renewables burst onto the scene. The owners of your neighborhood bakery, for example, probably have no more ability to determine the source of their electricity than they did a decade ago. Renewable energy may be cheap, but it’s still often difficult to access.
The Renewable Energy Buyers’ Alliance (REBA) has the power to open the floodgates. To address climate change, we urgently need to make it simple for any organization — from bakeries on up to retailers, hospitals, and corporations — to buy low-cost renewable energy. We’ll get there by working together, across industries and sectors, to systematically overcome every barrier — from insufficient buyer education to outdated policies — standing in the way of widespread access to carbon-free electricity. Ultimately, choosing renewable energy should be as easy as clicking a button.
As REBA’s Board Chair, I’m most inspired today by the fact that a group like ours even exists. Over four hundred of the world’s most sophisticated energy buyers and service providers, as well as four of the top NGOs working in energy, have come together in support of a single, focused mission: democratize renewable energy. When I got into this business, it would have been unimaginable for so many companies and other leaders to come together with so much ambition. Now, the opportunity in front of us is not only real, but achievable. So let’s get to work, speak with one voice, and grow the ranks of the world’s renewable energy buyers far and wide.
Board Chair, REBA
Head of Energy Market Strategy, Google