The movement to clean energy is not without obstacles and a few mentioned by the panelists included basic education and communication on the issues and the examination of regulatory limits. The panelist from Walmart mentioned that in his business “cost is king” so the methods used to move their company toward sustainability need to be cost efficient. One way to drive costs down that was discussed by both panelists was the need for Minnesota’s legislators to look closely at expanding power purchase agreements, or PPAs, where businesses are only paying for the amount of solar they are using. This would be sensible in a state like Minnesota’s where we don’t have as much abundant sunshine in the winter months.
Positive branding of the use of clean energy has become an important issue to businesses. Consumers and employees increasingly want clean energy solutions. Both panelists stated the need for sustainability has become incorporated into various business plans for their companies as a result of their employees and customers making it a priority. Clean energy may have been seen as a partisan issue in the past but the overall consensus from consumers is they want affordable, reliable and clean energy.