Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually 116

Posted by Soulskill
from the powered-by-hamsters dept.
Lucas123 writes: A new report authored by several environmental groups say data shows more than half of Fortune 100 companies collectively saved more than $1.1B annually by reducing carbon emissions and rolling out renewable energy projects. According to the report, 43% of Fortune 500 companies, or 215 in all, have also set targets in one of three categories: greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy. When narrowed to just the Fortune 100, 60% of the companies have set the same clean energy goals. Some of the companies leading the industry in annual clean energy savings include UPS ($200M), Cisco ($151M), PepsiCo ($121M) and United Continental ($104M).
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Renewable Energy Saves Fortune 100 Companies $1.1B Annually

Comments Filter:
  • Saved? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:07PM (#47364607)

    How much of that "savings" is tax breaks/subsidies?

    • Re:Saved? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @07:36AM (#47367275) Homepage

      I don't see any problem with that if the taxes and subsidies are there to offset the damage done by pollution. You produce less pollution, you pay less towards dealing with it. Maybe we even off an incentive to get you to invest, with the expectation that it will cause prices to fall more quickly.

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)

      Solar is already price competitive in some places and is set to get cheaper. In Italy Ikea are set to save on costs with solar without any subsidy. As solar prices drop, this will become possible in many more places, warehouse roofs are ideal for solar.

      http://cleantechnica.com/2014/... [cleantechnica.com]

      All that's needed is investment into large scale storage. There are a lot of ways this can be done, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Solar is already price competitive in some places and is set to get cheaper.,

        THe breakpoint is around 40 cents/kWh.

        In fact, there's a more interesting worry going on - the grid as we know it today may not survive. With high electricity costs, people may "go it alone" and simply disconnect off the grid, with their solar, wind, etc., systems generating enough to satisfy peak demand.

        This means those that cannot afford the systems end up "stuck" on the grid and guess who those people are? Which means who gets s

        • by MrL0G1C (867445)

          This means those that cannot afford the systems end up "stuck" on the grid

          AFAIK In the UK there are services that will install solar, bill you for the energy you use and they make their money from that and the excess electricity.

          US too: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/... [cleantechnica.com]

          Solar will cost less than coal in about two years time, the price drops have been massive, installing should get cheaper too with the larger scale of installations due to the cheaper panels.

          If there is consequently an oversupply of coal then

    • by Afty0r (263037)

      $2.2billion, annually.

  • Careful (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:07PM (#47364613)
    If you tell that to republicans there may be spontaneous mouth foaming.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by funwithBSD (245349)

      No,

      we ask the obvious question: How much did it cost to save that money?

      If they invested 50B to get that 1.1B, it is not that wise of a deal.

      • by bhlowe (1803290)
        Its VERY easy to get a real, positive return on a solar investment within a few years. That's because electricity rates are high, and solar panels are now cheap. Only government organizations can manage to screw up such an easy return on investment... (For instance, schools, government buildings such as the White House, etc. where the only concern is appearing green.) For dollars spent vs. dollars saved, solar is a fantastic investment, even without government subsidies.
        • I would like to see your numbers.

          Despite half of my system being tax credits, it is still taking 7 years to earn back the investment.

          If I still lived in Milpitas, with PG&E gouging me, it would take 4 or 5 years.

          Of course, I did not need an air conditioner there, so I used a lot less power.

          • by mythosaz (572040)

            5 years on capital return is BASIC budget planning that any business that owns its building does.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I used to work for a Pepsico division, they will not invest in something unless it has a good rate of return or the savings exceed the cost to implement it over a fairly short period of time

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by funwithBSD (245349)

          I work for one of the companies named, I know it was a publicity stunt and for the tax savings.

        • Re:Careful (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:52PM (#47364893)

          Aggressive skepticism has been the response to every single environmental conservation claim in my memory since the government recommended people turn off the lights when they left work (remember those light bulb stickers people stuck to the light switches to remind you?), and it turned out that companies' power bills did, in fact, go down (le shock!).

          Every single time, we get a round of "nuh uh! There's no way them environmental hippies could save money! Imma gonna go burn tires to prove them wrong!"

          By the time the "fad" has reached actual corporations with stockholders and accountants, you can be pretty sure that the beancounters have crunched the numbers and come up with a good reason for it.

          If you're going to claim that its due to a tax credit somewhere, I'd point out that at this point, most everyone is assuming the next administration will be Republican and will probably cancel all the environmental regulations and credits again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kenja (541830)
        How much did it cost Saint Reagan to remove the solar panels from the White House?
      • by geekoid (135745)

        depends on time now, doesn't it?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No,

        we ask the obvious question: How much did it cost to save that money?

        If they invested 50B to get that 1.1B, it is not that wise of a deal.

        How about getting ahold of some real numbers instead of throwing out a ridiculous number like $50 billion?

  • Details Please? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, companies saved $1.1 Billion. However, this article fails to state exactly how. In fact, if you look carefully, the article couldn't have been better designed to throw down some numbers while completely avoiding actual data.

    Example:
    IMPLEMENT CLEAN ENERGY SAVE $1BILLION.

    IMPLEMENT (COST $5 billion) CLEAN ENERGY SAVE (Don't pay for) $1 BILLION in energy costs!

    Or even worse:

    IMPLEMENT (COST $5 billion) CLEAN ENERGY GET $1BILLION TAX BREAK!

    I think the article writer could have done a much better job cle

    • by kolbe (320366)

      Modded you up as everything you say is true. Here's some further facts illustrating that without tax breaks/subsidies, Solar is at most a "wash" at best for consumers:

      SOLAR FACTS:
      - Most Efficient Solar Panel - 44.7% efficient Fraunhofer Q-Cell (1), AVERAGE efficiency between American's top 5 retailers: 17% (Kyocera KD+SunPower+SunPower+SolarWorld+Canadian Solar), which is crap compared to corporate use panels that average 21%.
      - Photovoltaic (PV) Degradation Rate - Every Solar panel loses between 0.5% and 4%

      • by dbIII (701233)
        However for some others price gouging by their local electricity monopoly provides a financial payback for solar over time in as little as two years in some places. That's trumps all you've written above in those places even though it's an artificial distortion of the market. That's also why those Chinese panel makers are making a fortune selling to those people, a fortune that could have gone to the US companies that developed the technology if they hadn't been discouraged for ideological reasons.
  • Meanwhile... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bhlowe (1803290) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:20PM (#47364713)
    Meanwhile, people without the ability to harvest energy from the sun and reap the tax benefits are getting socked with energy bills doubling every 5-7 years. (My average $500+/mo energy bills are why I'm getting solar installed this month!)
    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      My average $500+/mo energy bills are why I'm getting solar installed this month!

      $500/month?

      Getting involved in your local politics is a better solution... because you are getting fucked by your local public utility commission (which might also be the nearest city council.)

      Residential rates are as low as $0.09/kWh in this country. If you are paying more than twice that then you should have gotten involved a lot sooner.

      • by sycodon (149926)

        I cooled my 24 hundred sq ft, two story house in Texas for about $120 last month. That's with the damned kids setting the thermostat upstairs to 76.

      • Energy Prices in Brisbane Australia range around the $0.27/kwh........

        A $1200 bill a quarter is high but common for a lot of larger families (5+ people)

        • by dbIII (701233)

          Energy Prices in Brisbane Australia range around the $0.27/kwh

          Yet the wholesale price at the generators is close to the lowest in the world. A fake competition "market" made up of local monopolies in the middle is fucking everyone over in that situation and driving people to solar to get away from the price gouging.

          • According to the Queensland Department of Energy & Water 22% of the bill is retail markup, 19% is generation, 44% is network, 7% Carbon Tax, 7% cost of Solar, 3% green schemes.

            The cost in Queensland is the Network not generation. Even if you removed the retail margins it still remains high. But I am also old enough to see the massive difference in network stability now to what it was 20+ years ago. In the 80s a summer storm was guaranteed to take the power out for at least 30 mins every time (in an i

    • Meanwhile, people without the ability to harvest energy from the sun and reap the tax benefits are getting socked with energy bills doubling every 5-7 years. (My average $500+/mo energy bills are why I'm getting solar installed this month!)

      And people who live on flood plains pay extra for flood insurance. If you don't like the consequences of where you live, move.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Assuming you can move. Moving requires money, it means breaking with contact, it means needing a new job.
        If it was easy, everyone would live in Hawaii.

      • by Jeremi (14640)

        And people who live on flood plains pay extra for flood insurance. If you don't like the consequences of where you live, move.

        Or, you know, find a way to mitigate them. Which is what the previous poster is doing, instead of taking your helpful advice.

    • by kolbe (320366)

      California here!

      2,750sq ft. occupied by 5, $120 per month.

      Do you run every appliance continuously or run a casino out of your home?

      • by bhlowe (1803290)
        I have a home based computer business, a few servers, A/C and a pool, and 3 kids that keep the washing machine running... But a digital and comfortable lifestyle with electricity shouldn't be something only the wealthy can afford. Which is why solar makes sense.. and is out of reach for many.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      In the UK we have a scheme where you are loaned the money to buy the panels and then pay it back through your energy bill. The idea is that you save more than you pay back each month, so your bills go down. Not as good as the proper interest-free government loan that we should have, but still worth doing.

      • I have a hard time thinking of England as a good place for solar pannel installations, my mental image is a damp, cloudy, chilly place dominated by rain driven by the Gulf Stream influences; more like our Pacific Northwest temperate rain forrests in Oregon and Washington. I hate to think of people on fixed incomes dying of hypothermia because they couldn't afford to both heat their homes and pay for their solar pannels to fight global warming that hasn't happened for 18 years.

  • by cirby (2599) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @07:56PM (#47364913)

    Not from "reducing carbon emissions and rolling out renewable energy projects."

    They saved money by increasing energy efficiency.

    And you can bet that a huge chunk of that is just replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs. These are HUGE companies with many, many employees. A savings of $1.1 billion is relatively tiny overall...

    • Re:Actual savings? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic (135348) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:11PM (#47364993)

      Most huge commercial operations are using fluorescent lighting in their facilities. Switching to LED en masse would entail a loss.

      • Re:Actual savings? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cirby (2599) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:42PM (#47365443)

        A lot of companies are switching from old-school fluorescents (which aren't quite as efficient) to LEDs as the fixtures wear out. And yes, they do wear out, along with things like ballasts. There are a LOT of the old T12 fluorescents out there still, not to mention the newer (but still somewhat outdated) T8.

        They also make LED tubes now - a line of LEDs in a package the same size as the old fluorescent tubes. They cost a lot, but over the long run, they're cheaper to run. Once you include lowering air conditioning costs and less manpower spent replacing tubes, they're often worth the money. All you need to do is bypass the ballast (which also saves money in the long run - those things wear out too).

        A lot of factory floors used mercury vapor lights, and those are going away as they get old, replaced with clusters of LEDs.

        • by Muad'Dave (255648)

          The only downside to switching over to LED-filled fake fluorescent tubes is the cost of producing fake tubes that have to handle different input voltages. With the old ballast system the input voltage was handled by the ballast the the tube got the correct strike/run voltage/current regardless. Lots of SOHO fluorescent ballasts are designed to run off 120V and many that are installed in businesses are designed to run off 208V (high leg delta), 240V (phase to phase), 277V (phase to neutral in a 480V wye), et

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The latest LED replacement bulbs for office fluorescent light bulbs use 60% less energy than florescent light bulbs and last much longer. These new office led light bulbs should become more popular in the next few years.

    • by spitzak (4019)

      You are certainly correct that the savings are due to increasing energy efficiency.

      However it is not from putting in LED lights. They were already using fluorescent lights so this is not helping anywhere near as much. Also LEDs are not that cheap yet. It is from free things: getting all the monitors to go into power-save mode at night, turning down the heat or AC, etc.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Yeah, I have no idea where people got this idea that fluorescents were inefficient. They are pretty damned close to LEDs, especially since most of those are fluorescents anyway. With the electric ballasts, the "only" thing you have to worry about is failure (they don't really even get hotter than an LED power supply) which is enough reason in itself to replace them with LEDs as they fail.

    • And you can bet that a huge chunk of that is just replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs.

      Do any office buildings still use incandescent bulbs?

      • by cbeaudry (706335)

        Are you seriously asking that question?

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Aside from the occasional desk lamp, I can't remember the last time I saw an incandescent lamp in a business big enough to where if you fart on one side you can't smell it on the other.

          • by cbeaudry (706335)

            I am sorry to say, you guys do not get out much.

            Go to schools.
            Factories.
            Older buildings.
            Business that are not big enough to have green mandates like Pepsi, but not small enough to be green by changing 3 lightbulbs.
            Any business thats been around since at least the 80's.
            Auto repair shops
            Any "shop"

            seriously, open your eyes and see the incandescent lamps...

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              Yeah, most of those places have the fls or arc lamps. You will still see some incandescents on shop floors in drill presses and whatnot, but those places ought to be crafty enough to hack in LEDs. Most auto shops have gone all-LED because the lights produce less heat and are more shock resistant. As the incandescent (or even fluorescent) drop lights die, they get replaced with LED.

      • Some people are seriously sensitive to Fluorescent bulb flicker and others are sensitive to the low CRI of the fluorescent bulbs typically purchased by offices or landlords; which make having CFL's, halogens or incandescent bulbs an ADA [ada.gov] in some workplaces. Electronic ballasts [wikipedia.org] elliminate flicker and save energy, I've noticed that the rooms that I've replaced burned out magnetic ballasts with electronics seem to get used more and the rooms with CRI bulbs 85 or higher get used more as well. Additionally the el

  • Reducing the amount of energy (which costs money) you pay for saves you money (which you were previously paying for that energy).

    Give these chief executives a huge bonus!

  • perfect sense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826)
    Intel builds a new chip-making plant once every decade approximately because they cost double digit billions of dollars. They don't pay off for years and years but smart corporations play the long game. A lot of green technologies pay for themselves in 2-10 years and after that they turn into magical free money machines. So logically corporations that are smart implement them.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @08:26PM (#47365071) Journal

    Some of the companies leading the industry in annual clean energy savings include UPS ($200M), Cisco ($151M), PepsiCo ($121M) and United Continental ($104M).

    Annual Revenues:

    UPS: 55.4 billion
    Cisco: 48.6 billion
    PepsiCo: 66.4 billion
    United Continental: 38.3 billion

    United Continental only posted 571 million in profits last year, so yes, those savings definitely helped.
    The others? Cisco: 9.9 billion; PepsiCo: $6.7 billion, UPS: $4.3 billion-- the savings reported are akin to rounding errors. It's not all that persuasive.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @09:53PM (#47365497)

      wtf is wrong with you people?

      its turns out that making modest cuts in energy consumption isn't that painful, saves some money,
      and may have longer term benefits

      maybe I can understand the 'saving the purple spotted toad is costing jobs damn liberals' attitude, but
      you guys have to piss on this? turning off the lights at night?

      god fucking forbid we didn't waste as much energy as possible. imagonna leave my truck running all night
      just to show i'm a true patriot

      assholes

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        its turns out that making modest cuts in energy consumption isn't that painful, saves some money, and may have longer term benefits

        There are 2 main problems.

        First, if we're going to continue to increase in technology and especially if we're going to go for electric cars, we're going to need to use a LOT MORE electricity than we do now. Filling people's heads with the idea that we can use less energy as part of the solution is feeding them bullshit.

        Second, and this is from my perspective, any energy generat

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Who needs baseload when everyone has huge amounts of kWH of battery sitting in their driveway? You need either baseload power, or energy storage, and electric cars ARE energy storage.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @09:21AM (#47367897) Homepage Journal

          Filling people's heads with the idea that we can use less energy

          Actually, it's the idea that we can waste less energy. So you started out with a straw man. But wait, there's less!

          the idea that we can use less energy as part of the solution is feeding them bullshit.

          In fact, EVs are so much more efficient than ICEs that we can use less energy. Further, more of the energy can efficiently come from clean, renewable sources. Since EVs run on electricity, they can better run on solar power than can cars with ICEs. It's true that you could use the electricity to make liquid fuels, but that would be grossly inefficient; even more inefficient than burning fossil fuels (let us ignore the CO2 for the scope of this conversation, which shouldn't be hard since that's SOP for most societies) and producing electricity to power EVs. It's also true that you can make panels in a dirty, dirty way, but that's a mere distraction in the face of coal's output (even ignoring the CO2) and it's also less true than ever. Today's panels are generally designed with recycling in mind, and they have a lower energy cost of production than ever.

          As I see nuclear as the only viable option for generating the amount of baseload we're going to need for the likes of electric cars, that fills people's heads with the idea that we don't need nuclear, which is also problematic.

          It's problematic only for your view. But battery technology continues to progress, and at the point when EVs have more range than they need (coming soon to a highway near you) they can reasonably be used to smooth out the dips. As well, there are numerous power storage projects in the works right now, and there's no signs that they will slow down. It's far from proven that we require nuclear power, and it's far from proven that we can manage the waste in a responsible manner. Get back to me when we don't have years and tons of nuclear waste just lying around in conditions not in fact all that different from Fukushima.

          • by jez9999 (618189)

            Get back to me when we don't have years and tons of nuclear waste just lying around in conditions not in fact all that different from Fukushima.

            What, and that nuclear power's fault and not the fault of incompetent lawmakers and intransigent greenies?

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              What, and that nuclear power's fault and not the fault of incompetent lawmakers and intransigent greenies?

              Just like any other problem, I don't actually care whose fault it is. Until it's solved, nuclear power has a serious problem which needs to be addressed. I don't think it's unsolvable, but it just doesn't matter why it hasn't yet been solved unless you're trying to fix it. I think that's a laudable goal, but right now I'm just worried about not making the existing problem worse.

              • by jez9999 (618189)

                Well it's already solved in places with competent regulators, so don't try pretending it isn't.

                • by drinkypoo (153816)

                  Well it's already solved in places with competent regulators, so don't try pretending it isn't.

                  If you know how to solve the problem of corrupt and/or incompetent regulation in the USA, please share.

      • by SebNukem (188921)
        imagonna leave my truck running all night just to show i'm a true patriot
        This hits close to home. My conservative neighbor did just that after I installed the PV system on my roof :(
    • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday July 01, 2014 @11:04PM (#47365849)

      How is a 1.5% bump in profit for Cisco or 2% for UPS a rounding error? Most CFOs would kill to find an extra 1.5%, or put another way it's one fewer round of layoffs to meet Wallstreet's latest estimate.

    • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @03:57AM (#47366737) Journal

      Specious argument. When you break a $100 bill at the grocery store, and the change is less than $20, do you tell the cashier to keep it because in terms of your net salary per year it's "rounding error"?

      Money is a limited resource, and no matter how much a company makes, I can almost guarantee you there was some one who didn't get the budget they wanted due to scarcity of resources.

      Additionally, energy efficient lighting savings keep adding up. It's not like cisco will just save $151 mio. They'll save it year over year, which may turn out to be an additional few billion to their bottom line.

  • It is nice to see an upside. A lot of companies are not disclosing the down side risk from climate change to investors though. https://mninews.marketnews.com... [marketnews.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    11 million times 100 = 1.1 billion.

    So the headline should be, "Renewable Energy Savings By Fortune 100 Doesn't Even Cover CEO's Salary"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    After the Arab oil embargo, the US funded a program for business education on energy conservation in industrial plants. It was a six month course with a lot of solid material. Applying this to the processes in the chemical plant where I was working saved a ton of money -- well beyond the costs of implementation. And in general the manufacturing processes ran better. But changes like this are not a one time fix but an attitude, much like cyber security. The abandonment of small cars and rush into SUVs was sy

"The only way for a reporter to look at a politician is down." -- H.L. Mencken

Working...