Public-private coalition to tackle - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Industrial  -  September 28, 2017

Public-private sector coalition takes on thermal energy

A large group of manufacturers including Mars Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and General Motors Co., has joined government and environmental organizations in launching an effort to increase options for access to sustainable, cost-competitive renewable thermal energy. 

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative, which will operate under the umbrella of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, said Sept. 18 that it aims to address a significant challenge: Energy used for heating and cooling comprises approximately 50% of total global final energy demand and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the large energy and carbon footprint of heating and cooling and significant potential to reduce carbon emissions, the use of renewable energy for heating and cooling applications has received relatively little attention compared with renewable electricity, the organization said in a news release

"The world already has great renewable electricity solutions but if we are to keep the warming of the planet below 2 degrees then we also need great renewable thermal solutions," Barry Parkin, chief sustainability and health and wellbeing officer for Mars said in a statement. 

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative says it hopes to serve as the leading coalition for organizations that are committed to scaling up renewable heating and cooling at their facilities and dramatically cutting carbon emissions. The collaborative is being led by founding steering committee members from Mars, P&G, Cargill, General Motors, Kimberly Clark and the City of Philadelphia and facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and David Gardiner and Associates.

"P&G has committed to delivering 30% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020," P&G Director of Sustainability Jack McAneny. "Organizations like the Renewable Thermal Collaborative will help create renewable sources that are sustainable, scalable and cost-competitive. Collaboration within the industry is critical to ensuring there are solutions available to meet this growing demand for renewable energy sources." 

In the U.S., heating and cooling account for more than 25% of total energy use across residential, commercial and industrial sectors at a cost of $270 billion annually, the group says. Renewable thermal technologies, including biomass, biogas, geothermal, landfill gas, and solar thermal, have significant potential to reduce carbon emissions in industry and buildings. The collaborative looks to provide a venue for partners to come together to better understand the problems in the market, learn from each other, and overcome barriers to renewable heating and cooling. 

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