In summer 2020, Groundswell, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance Institute (REBA), and The Solutions Project joined forces to accelerate an equitable clean energy future for all by leveraging corporate renewable energy purchases to deliver local community benefits alongside clean energy. Connecting large corporate buyers to community-defined clean energy priorities and organizations through procurement tools such as Request For Proposal (RFP) language and community engagement processes holds the potential to rapidly accelerate energy equity by sharing clean energy benefits with local communities. Bringing local frontline leaders together with corporate renewable energy executives to co-create solutions was a fundamental part of this project’s development.
The market transforming power of corporate renewable energy purchases is enormous. More than half of all energy consumption in the United States comes from the commercial and industrial sector. Large corporate buyers are already driving the market for renewable energy. Within just five years, corporate purchases resulted in the deployment of more than 23 Gigawatts of new renewable energy projects in the United States. In 2020 alone, corporate buyers announced an additional 9.33 GW of new renewable energy purchases. Leveraging this scale to incorporate purchasing processes and RFP requirements that include local community priorities can deliver benefits beyond climate and environmental goals — realizing the full environmental, social, and corporate governance potential of renewables.
As part of this initiative, Groundswell and our partners together with The Hummingbird Firm hosted “Working Wisdom Listening Tours” in February 2021. These listening sessions focused on how corporate sustainability leaders can communicate and establish longer-term transparency and co-creation processes with local communities and leaders, while extending support to grassroots community groups nationwide.
For more information or questions about the Communities+Corporates program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out Groundswell’s Corporate and Community Engagement Primer and the Corporate and Community Engagement Decision Framework that emerged from this work below. These resources outline key recommendations for framing community engagement for corporate renewable energy buying, siting and procurement practices.