President Trump may not be a fan, but business giants like JPMorgan Chase and Google increasingly see investment in renewable energy as a no-brainer.
Renewable energy such as wind and solar PV is becoming cheaper by the year.
Corporate heavyweights are investing in clean energy technologies that boost their green credentials − and their bottom line.
President Trump appears not to be a fan of wind turbines. Prior to becoming president, he famously tweeted: “How many bald eagles did wind turbines kill today? They are an environmental and aesthetic disaster.”
New York banking giant JPMorgan Chase disagrees. The company has announced plans to switch all its facilities to 100% renewable power by 2020. Furthermore, 75% of the company’s buildings in Texas will run on wind energy by the end of 2017.
Eight million square feet and 584 branches are covered, including a new 1.2 million-square-foot Plano campus. JPMorgan Chase will buy more than half the electricity from a wind farm in Fort Worth in a 20-year deal.
The bank also plans to spend $200 billion on tech such as computer-controlled air conditioning and LED lighting through 2025.
Renewable revolution in Texas
The Lone Star state is leading the way when it comes to clean energy.
Facebook’s new data centre in Fort Worth is powered by a wind farm. General Motors plant in Arlington will also be 100% renewable.
7-Eleven plans to buy wind energy for 425 Texas stores in the state’s energy markets. In addition, Walmart, Target and Costco also produce rooftop solar power.
Google’s green data
Google has stayed true to its cool Californian roots when it comes to the environment.
Carbon neutral since 2007, the internet giant is the largest corporate renewable energy buyer outside of utilities. It has signed 2.5GW of contracts and committed to $2.5 billion of investments.
Google has a team that investigates the use of maps, data and machine learning to solve environmental problems. These include creating databases and software to monitor the health of tropical forests and illegal fishing. Another team works on serving sustainably grown food to employees.
Wind power under President Trump
A recent survey from Pew found 65% of Americans believe the US should prioritise renewable energy.
President Trump, despite his support for projects such as the Keystone XL pipeline, may also be forced to admit that wind offers exactly the kind of skilled manufacturing jobs he says he favours.
World Wind Technology (WWT) reports that more than 500 factories across 41 states currently make and assemble wind turbine components. Over 80% of wind towers, and around 70% of blades and hubs are made in the US. In addition, 85% of turbine nacelles are assembled there.
Trump even said he supported federal subsidies for wind power during his 2015 campaign in Iowa, which generates around 30% of its electricity from onshore wind. He described it as “an amazing thing”.
WWT notes that the clean-power goals adopted by more than half of US states will be extremely difficult to reverse. The same also goes for the projects already underway. Their long lead times means Trump could well be out of office before any federal approval is required.
Lauren Burm, Dong Energy’s US spokesperson, said: “Our business is not dependent on – or driven by – election cycles.”