'100 Percent Renewable': Company Pledges and State Energy Law
43 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 2018
Corporate demand for clean power has emerged with new force and influence in post-election energy policy. As the new presidential administration decisively reemphasized fossil fuels, leading companies are pledging to power their operations with renewable energy. This article assesses recent regulatory reforms at the state level responsive to these corporate pledges and considers the barriers and opportunities the reforms present for companies, for states, and for emissions reduction goals. It traces how corporate energy purchasing has evolved and how new policy innovations are extending that trajectory across a growing number of states. With a focus on reforms expanding access to renewable energy in states with traditional regulatory regimes, the article situates the role of corporate demand for clean power in the broader context of energy transition policy. What risks or benefits might there be if policy shifts increase the role of corporate consumers in the US electric power sector? Recognizing the trend’s potential for carbon emissions reduction, the article considers how corporate demand for clean power is changing the role of commercial and industrial consumers on the modern grid and unpacks “100% renewable” claims. Turning to electricity’s legal and physical infrastructure, the article weighs implications of increased non-utility influence and dispersed decision-making in energy policy.
Keywords: Renewable Energy, Wind, Solar, Public Utility Commission, Corporate Demand, Clean Power, Green Tariff, PPA, Power Purchase Agreement
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