Major Global Corporations Join with RMI to Advance Electric Sector Transformation
The ZEROgrid Initiative brings Akamai, General Motors, Meta, Prologis, Salesforce, Walmart, and others together to help Tackle the Toughest Challenges in Decarbonizing the Grid and Improving Reliability
BOULDER, Colo. — July 18, 2023
Today, Akamai Technologies, General Motors, Meta, Prologis, Salesforce, Walmart, and other major companies announced a joint effort with RMI, founded as Rocky Mountain Institute, focused on building a comprehensive, collaborative new framework to accelerate the transition to a reliable and affordable zero-emissions electric grid.
The new effort, the Zero Emissions, Reliability Optimized Grid Initiative (ZEROgrid), is intended to maximize grid reliability and emissions reduction by enabling sustained, high-impact corporate action across clean energy procurement, policy, investment, R&D and operations.
“To rapidly accelerate decarbonization of electricity, the focus—and the incentives—for corporations must expand beyond the traditional activity of buying renewables,” said RMI CEO Jon Creyts. “Businesses can play a significant role by working strategically with grid operators and policymakers to drive deep decarbonization, while increasing the reliability and affordability of electricity for all.”
ZEROgrid follows in the path of successful institutional efforts in the electric sector space previously incubated by RMI, including the Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA), the Energy Web Foundation, and the recently launched Virtual Power Plant Partnership (VP3).
ZEROGRID: INCENTIVIZING BROADER CORPORATE ENGAGEMENT TO ENABLE A RELIABLE ZERO-EMISSIONS GRID
The private sector has been a critical driver of increasing clean energy on the grid. Since 2008, corporate renewable purchases have helped bring online 148 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity globally—more than the total power-generating capacity of France. A quarter of those purchases happened in 2022 alone, signaling that corporate action in the clean energy space is rapidly accelerating.
Currently, sustainability metrics focus on the annual volume, measured in megawatt hours, of these clean energy purchases. Today, there is an opportunity to increase the impact of and enable further corporate climate engagement by more precisely measuring the emissions benefits of clean energy purchases and encouraging corporate action beyond procurement alone.
Incentivizing corporate investments in this fuller range of grid decarbonization activities, informed by better metrics, is ZEROgrid’s focus and primary opportunity. The initiative will start by developing a holistic framework involving targeted metrics and direct engagement with the grid operators.
STATEMENTS FROM FOUNDING MEMBERS OF ZEROGRID:
Akamai: “It’s clear that we need to focus on initiatives that promote decarbonization on a larger scale, which requires a broader philosophy that goes beyond the goals of individual companies,” said Mike Mattera, the director of corporate sustainability and ESG officer at Akamai Technologies Inc. “ZEROgrid builds a community to exchange knowledge, skills, and proven methods that will help accelerate an emissions-free grid transformation. Collectively, we can pave the way for an equitable, dependable, and environmentally sustainable clean energy future that benefits everyone.”
GM: “There is more to improving the grid than just decarbonization,” said Kristen Siemen, GM chief sustainability officer. “The process needs to be done in a way that incorporates grid reliability, and affordability. The ZEROgrid Initiative prioritizes those elements, taking a system wide approach that helps accelerate improvement toward a more reliable, affordable, and decarbonized grid. “
Meta: “ZEROgrid is creating a systems-level framework to allow all companies to maximize their impact in accelerating the transition to a more reliable and fully decarbonized grid through their sustainability goals,” said Peter Freed, energy strategy lead at Meta. “We’ve seen the incredible impact companies have had accelerating the transition to renewable energy through the voluntary market, and we’re proud to partner with RMI and other leading companies to broaden the scope of that ambition to include the entire grid and the delivery of clean, reliable and affordable energy.”
Prologis: “As we strive toward grid decarbonization, it’s imperative that we also make grids more resilient and optimized for renewables.” said John Hoekstra, global head of sustainability solutions, Prologis. “By supporting multiple facets of change, we can make a resounding impact on how renewable energy is generated and delivered. Prologis is excited to collaborate with the founding members of the ZEROgrid Initiative to develop a system-wide approach to accelerate the transition to a more reliable, optimized and zero emissions future.”
Salesforce: “Companies can and must do more to accelerate a just energy transition.” says Suzanne DiBianca, executive vice president and chief impact officer at Salesforce.. “We’re proud to join the ZEROgrid initiative to encourage the evolution of corporate climate frameworks that incentivize a reliable and affordable decarbonized grid.”
Walmart: “As we enter the next phase of the energy transition, new mechanisms are needed to enable a zero-emissions power system that is also affordable and reliable for everyone, ” said Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president, energy transformation at Walmart. “We’re excited to work with RMI in developing a holistic framework that more effectively captures the system-wide impact of decarbonization investments and incentivizes a broader range of such activities.”
RMI, founded as Rocky Mountain Institute, is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50% by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.
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RMI: Adam Beitman, email@example.com 202-670-5585