More and more companies are making renewable energy pledges, but they are not all necessarily installing their own solar panels. The computer giant Apple, for example, recently announced that it plans to utilize “100 percent renewable energy” in the near future. It is not so easy to go and purchase that amount of renewable electricity, however, even if you are flush with cash like Apple. The company actually founded its own utility company, Apple Energy LLC, which was then designated as a wholesale electricity seller. Apple Energy sells electricity pretty much just to Apple computer.
Many of Apple’s efforts are being led by Lisa Jackson, who was the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama. She is now Apple’s Vice President for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. Jackson says the company is actually expecting to save money by producing its own electricity, primarily through solar generated in California to serve Apple’s massive corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California.
So what can a company or a consumer do if it wants to use more renewables and does not have a pile of cash to found its own utility company? Renewable Energy Certificates may be the answer. Apple is actually part of a group called RE100, which is a global initiative of leading businesses that have pledged to use 100% renewable energy. Most companies in the RE100, including Apple up until recently, have relied heavily on purchasing certificates showing that the company has paid for the equivalent of enough renewable power to meet its needs. In other words, the company may use electricity generated by the local utility’s mix of renewable and fossil fuel, but it is paying for just the renewable portion.
Renewable energy certificates, or RECs, have been credited with sharply driving up the amount of renewable power being used around the world. If you want to learn more about using RECs to help the planet, Greenwave Energy can help.