The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance is now the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance

This article was adapted from Energy Weekly, a free newsletter on the clean energy transition.

I spend more time than your average bear tracking corporate renewable energy purchases. Renewable energies would not be where they are today without the pioneering companies that have spurred deployments, lowered the cost of technology and developed new contract models.

No organization does more to support companies that buy renewable energy than the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. I have followed the group’s meteoric rise as a centralized resource for corporate energy buyers and one of the first clean energy trade associations focused on buyers rather than technology. GreenBiz wrote about the initial formation of the association (back when it was just a collaboration between four NGOs), and we covered when it became its own stand-alone NGO.

This week, at the organization‘s fall summit, the alliance entered a new phase: from now on, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) will be known as the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance (CEBA).

What’s new with the new name?

With the new name comes a new organizational aspiration: a 90% carbon-free electricity system in the United States by 2030. This is an evolution of the organization’s previous goal, to catalyze 60 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025.

The new direction reflects a more holistic approach to adopting clean energy. It’s no longer about the emissions associated with an individual organization’s energy use, it’s about driving a cleaner grid so that every end user of electricity – whether a factory or a home – uses carbon-free energy.

“Energy customers are important and businesses recognize the importance of thinking bigger and bolder than our renewable energy offerings. As we focus on a 90% carbon-free power system in the United States, we see our community as a key driver of climate action in the energy sector, ”explained Monica Jaburg, Director of Communications , marketing and public relations for CEBA, in an email.

What will be the objective of the CEBA?

According to the CEBA press release, the organization will focus on three key transformations:

  • Unlock markets so energy customers can use their purchasing power and market influence to accelerate the decarbonization of electricity.
  • Catalyze communities of energy consumers to actively choose clean energy and do more together than they could do on their own.
  • Decarbonize the network for everyone, because not all energy consumers can or will not use their purchasing power to choose clean energy.

This systems-level focus could open the door for CEBA to become a powerful business voice to support clean energy policy. Some of the world’s most iconic brands are members of CEBA, including Google, General Motors, McDonald’s and Target, which could make a significant difference in political negotiations.

If the CEBA gains enough influence, this holistic approach could provide an important balance to other trade associations to which many of these same companies also belong, such as the Business Roundtable, which actively fights against climate legislation and the Build Back law. Better.

Why does CEBA need a new name for this?

The rebranding from “renewable” to “clean” aims to better encompass all of the components necessary for a carbon-free network, according to an email from the organization.

While renewables – such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower – will be an important part of cleaning up the electricity grid, enabling climate technologies that are not “renewables,” including storage , software and data systems will also be.

The CEBA declined to say whether this name change is also designed to encompass nuclear power, a clean (but non-renewable and controversial) source of energy.

The era of clean energy associations

Two of the nation’s largest clean energy trading groups – the American Clean Power Association and the Energy Storage Association – announced their merger in 2022.

Likewise, Clean Energy for America (CE4A), a group that works to engage and mobilize millions of workers in the clean energy industry, is rallying to show support for clean energy policies. The group works to raise awareness of the stories about jobs related to clean energy in support of the Build Back Better Act. (Full disclosure: I volunteer for CE4A and think it’s great.)

The maturation of these clean energy organizations follows the historic year of US climate policy and increased global decarbonization ambitions to avert the worst of climate change. And, if and when the Build Back Better Act is passed, these organizations could influence how policies are passed.

Frankly, given the well-developed expertise and financial resources of the historic dirty energy interests, the increased efforts of the clean energy sector could not come too late.

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