The Business Case for Renewable Energy
When it comes to energy, most retailers rightfully think primarily about how much energy they are using in their establishment and, of course, the cost of that energy. Most employers concern themselves with how efficiently they are using energy. Many are taking significant steps to be as efficient as possible.
More and more, however, employers are thinking not only about how efficiently they are using the resource, but how efficiently the resource is being produced.
Small-business owners, in particular, know all too well the energy crunch in which they seem to permanently find themselves. Deemed "light commercial" by the energy companies, they don’t have nearly the levels of usage that the manufacturing sector has and, therefore, don’t qualify for discounted rates. Additionally, they don’t enjoy the subsidized rates that homeowners — as in voters — have gotten from local politicians and public utility commissions.
They are caught in an Energy Catch 22 — too small for the big discounts and not politically powerful enough to be subsidized.
This dilemma is only getting worse as modern technology and the online economy continues to grow exponentially and the data centers they rely on are placing new energy demands on the grid. Essentially, modern online retailers are using energy at a rate that traditional manufacturers have, and it is growing by the day.
For traditional retailers and small-business owners, the squeeze is tightening and they are absorbing costs that their online competitors are shedding.
There really hasn’t been much they can do about it. That is, until now.
Sustainability isn’t just about being green. It’s about having reliable sources of energy that their business and our national economy can rely on for generations. It’s smart business. That’s why more American companies are demanding renewable energy options to power their businesses than ever before, further proving that sustainability and profitability are not mutually exclusive.
Fortune 500 companies from a wide variety of industries understand that clean energy not only reduces their carbon footprint, but also makes sound business sense, impacting their bottom lines. Many retailers and small-business operators are doing the same. They know that they have to not only achieve rate fairness in the near term, but also energy security in the long term — for their businesses and for the country.
As Ikea Chief Financial Officer Rob Olson recently said, "We are committed to renewable energy and to running our business in a way that minimizes our carbon emissions, not only because of the environmental impact, but also because it makes good financial sense. We invest in our own renewable energy sources so that we can control our exposure to fluctuating electricity costs and continue providing great value to our customers.”
With that same intent, many large employers have come together to form Employers for Renewable Energy to bring a business voice to the energy debate and use our collective efforts to push our energy companies to leverage renewable sources. We represent job creators nationwide who support federal and state policies that enable greater customer choice of renewable energy and strong competition among producers.
That’s how we do business and that is how the energy producers should do business as well. Our economic future depends on it.
Joe Rinzel is an expert in state government relations and executive director of Employers for Renewable Energy (ERE), a coalition that represents job creators nationwide who support state policies that enable greater customer choice of renewable energy and strong competition among producers. Prior to joining ERE, Rinzel was senior vice president of government affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents America’s largest and fastest-growing retailers. Rinzel can be reached at [email protected]
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.