US states ranked on ease of buying green energy

19 January 2017

Iowa, Illinois and New Jersey are the three easiest US states for firms to buy renewable energy, a study has found.

The Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings ranks all 50 states for the first time on the ease of buying green energy.

Published by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), whose members include Apple, Wal-Mart and Nike, and the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), it said states investing in clean domestic energy production are the most likely to attract businesses.

The report said demand for clean energy among retailers and technology companies is expected to increase to 60 gigawatts by 2025, the equivalent of powering over 43m homes.

“Retail and tech companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Target and Wal-Mart are among nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies seeking to locate operations in states with clean energy production due to fossil fuel price volatility and pollution concerns,” it said.

Adam Siegel, senior vice president of research, innovation and sustainability at RILA, said the index would help retailers focus on the states that are conducive to doing business.

“We urge state governments to look hard at steps they can take to promote customer choice for renewable energy so that they can open the doors to new investments,” he said.

Energy sourcing was of particular relevance to internet companies. As the adoption of the cloud accelerates, so does the energy consumption of the datacentres that power it, said Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of technology and civic engagement at Microsoft.

The report also identifies barriers that inhibit states from growing their economies through domestic renewable energy, including over-regulation and high taxes that discourage competition and regional cooperation.

“The results show a wide disparity in clean energy policy at the state level, making some states far more attractive to businesses that use large amounts of electricity,” the report said.

The report recommends states deregulate their power markets to enable customers to choose renewable energy and to lower taxes that target clean energy producers.

It also advocated allowing businesses on-site energy production, such as solar panels on roofs or battery energy storage technologies, to help ease power grid demand during peak times.

Top five states for procuring clean energy:

1. Iowa

2. Illinois

3. New Jersey

4. California

5. Texas

Five worst states:

1. Alabama

2. Wyoming

2. Idaho

3. Alaska

4. Kentucky

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