Why is Verizon passing up $500 million? 

Submitted by bporter on April 26, 2018

With our Hang Up on Fossil Fuels Campaign, Green America has reported extensively on the vast amount energy used by telecommunication companies to keep our wireless networks up and running. The sector uses enough electricity to power all the households from New York City, and unfortunately, it has largely come from fossil fuels. But, a few companies are stepping up their renewables, and receiving considerable financial perks. 

New Commitment Leaders

Since we've launched our campaign, the industry has made moves to clean up wireless. In early 2018, T-Mobile became the first major telecom to announce a commitment to 100% clean energy by 2021. The company highlighted it will save $100 million over 15 years from the shift to renewables, and John Legere, president and CEO at T-Mobile commented “[i]magine the awesome things we can do for our customers with that!. After T-Mobile’s commitment, AT&T announced it will purchase 520 MW of power from two wind farms, representing approximately 20% of its energy."  

Industry Laggard

A notable company that hasn’t announced plans to boost clean energy, save itself money, and do more for its customers is Verizon. The telecom giant has made pledges to double its use of clean energy by 2025, but since it currently uses so little, doubling would only mean 4% of total energy used. Forward-thinking companies are seeing that buying renewable power has a host of business benefits which include: increasing efficiency, improving brand reputation, creating jobs, expanding markets, and saving money. Verizon uses more than five times as much energy as T-Mobile, so if it moves to 100% clean energy over the next few years, it could reap savings five times larger than T-Mobile: a half-a-billion dollars. So, what is the hold up for Verizon? 

Clean Energy Saves Money

In 2016, solar became the fastest growing source of energy in the US, with wind and solar making up almost 66 percent of all growth in energy capacity (surpassing natural gas, at 29 percent). Wind energy makes up 5 percent of all US power, and the Department of Energy confirms it has the potential to supply 35 percent by 2050. As our Clean Energy is Calling report states, the availability of wind and solar energy in the US is growing rapidly while the cost is going down. Wind power is the least expensive form of energy available in many parts of the country and by 2025, solar will be cheaper than coal-fired energy. Prices for clean energy sources are falling thanks to improved technology and rising demand. Keeping demand up is essential to revolutionizing our energy grid, shifting it from fossil fuels to renewables. This is where telecoms come in. 

How to Take Action

We need industries consuming massive amounts of energy to demand clean energy. Telecoms have an opportunity to be leaders in this area, but not all have made meaningful commitments. We call on Verizon to set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2025 with a public timeline of how to get there. Join us in ensuring Verizon makes this environmentally sustainable, financially wise decision today. 

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