It has been almost two months since Joe Biden was sworn in as U.S. President, and he’s already taken major steps to combat climate change. Most notably, reentering the U.S. in the Paris Climate Accords and cancelling the Keystone Pipeline project in favor of pursuing renewable forms of energy. So, what are the details of Biden’s climate and energy policy, and how will they impact your business in the short and long term? In this article, we’re diving into the answers to those questions.
Biden’s Energy Policy
Biden’s energy policy is vast and ambitious. We’ve broken it down into a short list:
- Require aggressive methane pollution limits for new and existing oil and gas operations
- Develop rigorous new fuel economy standards to ensure 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions
- Ban new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters.
- Enact legislation in 2021 that puts the U.S. on the path to achieve economy-wide net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
- Invest $400 billion over ten years in clean energy and innovation.
- Establish ARPA-C, a new research agency focused on accelerating climate technologies.
- Accelerate the deployment of clean technology throughout the U.S. economy.
- Set a target of reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock 50% by 2035, creating incentives for retrofits that combine appliance electrification, efficiency, and on-site clean power generation.
- Require public companies to disclose climate-related financial risks and the greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains.
The Implications for Your Business
Biden’s energy policy will have a definite impacts on businesses big and small, no matter what industry they are in. To survive in a net-zero United States, businesses must step up their sustainability measures and climate action. Below, we’ve compiled 4 possible ways your business will be impacted and how to deal with them.
1. Emissions Reductions and Reporting Will Become Mandatory
Expect Biden’s energy policy to be translated into concrete regulations that companies will be required to align their business and climate strategies with. Your company can get a jump on any upcoming regulations by integrating emission reduction targets aligned with limiting global warming to 1.5C. This will give your company clarity on where and how to implement net-zero measures across the board.
In addition, as mentioned above, the Biden administration has promised executive action requiring public companies to measure and disclose greenhouse gas emissions. Before your company can start disclosing GHG emissions, you need to be able to measure them. An energy and sustainability management platform synced with sustainability reporting frameworks can help you collect your energy and emissions data to then have the ability to reduce it and report it as needed.
2. Failure to Take Climate Action Could Endanger Your Business
Companies that fail to take steps to become more sustainable risk having their products and services become unviable. Think about how many advertisements you see for products daily, whether on TV, social media, or the internet. Many of those advertisements note that their products are sustainable, made with recycled material, and so on. As Biden’s energy policy is implemented, expect this phenomenon to only increase.
If your organization is not already heading towards more sustainable business practices, you risk losing market share. After all, if consumers have a choice between two similar products and one is sustainable, they’re increasingly likely to pick the sustainable one. Additionally, you do not want to be caught in the sticky situation of having to increase your sustainability abruptly rather than gradually – that will be far more costly. Working with an energy and sustainability management service now to implement efficiency projects will save you in the long run.
3. Investors Will Favor Sustainable Businesses
On a related note, investors are already moving their dollars away from high-polluting companies. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is pushing its companies to have net-zero by 2050 targets, and has stated that it will separate itself from those that don’t. Furthermore, companies with higher environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores tend to consistently outperform their peers. The best thing you can do is make your business as sustainable as possible and make your efforts known.
4. Expect to Start Using More Renewable Energy
The Biden administration aims to achieve 100% clean electricity nationwide by 2035. Onshore wind and solar PV energy generation have now fallen below five cents per kilowatt hour – compared to fossil fuel power generation costing between 5 to 18 US cents per kilowatt hour. As innovation continues, expect renewables to become even more cost competitive.
Many major U.S. companies have already started the transition to renewable energy through commitments to 100% renewable power (RE100) and electric car fleets (EV100).
If your company still relies on fossil fuels, you should transition to renewable energy sources and infrastructure as quickly as possible, or you risk being left with stranded energy assets. Transitioning to renewable energy can mean installing solar panels on buildings throughout your portfolio, purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs), or taking part in a green tariff program.
All things considered, it looks like Biden’s energy policy is focused on encouraging companies to step up their sustainability game. Above, we mentioned that an energy and sustainability management platform is key to lowering your company’s emissions, becoming sustainable, and reporting on it to show your customers and investors. EnergyWatch’s cloud-based energy and sustainability management platform, WatchWire, can provide you with interval data monitoring to determine areas of inefficiency that are increasing your building(s) emissions, measure your water and energy use, help you measure and verify the effectiveness of your efficiency projects, benchmark your efforts against national efficiency averages, and streamline sustainability reporting frameworks like LEED ARC and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. This means that you can see how your buildings’ data is measuring up and what changes you still need to make.
In addition, EnergyWatch makes procuring RECs easier by providing market expertise and ensuring supply contract decisions are optimized for future operations at your facility. WatchWire will track your contracts and renewable generation sources to ensure their performance is meeting expectations. WatchWire also helps measure and verify the efficiency of your on-sight energy generation, e.g., solar panels on your building(s). WatchWire can track how much they are saving you in terms of utility costs and emissions.
To learn more about WatchWire, check out the WatchWire Fact Sheet. Or, if you want to discover more about increasing sustainability at your company, browse through our e-Book, Sustainability Reporting in 2021: A Practical Guide to Meeting Your Goals.