BLOG: Why switching to clean energy makes good business sense

Fans of Virgin Racing have no doubt heard that the Rocky Mountain Institute is a partner of the team’s new Race Against Climate Change initiative, together with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group. You’ve heard of Virgin and Sir Richard, and now I’d like to introduce Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

At RMI, our mission is to transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. We’re delighted to partner with Virgin Racing on the Race Against Climate Change because it’s all about accelerating the energy transition and helping the world achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, and that’s what RMI is about too. We act around the world to get people and markets to switch to clean energy because it makes good business sense, and because our future climate depends on it.

Formula E represents the sport of the future, and the future is our business. As part of the Race Against Climate Change, we’ll be bringing you the latest updates on the renewable energy transition and how industry can save money and profit while reducing carbon emissions at the same time. You’ll see these stories at every race this season, as we keep our ‘finger on the pulse’ of cutting-edge clean tech and how it can be deployed to change the world. We’ll also be bringing you two special energy innovation summits; one in the USA and one in Europe, where we’ll hear from the brightest minds on the latest technology developments and disruptive business models.

“Formula E is the Sport of the Future”

Formula E is the sport of the future because of the brilliant innovation that lies inside the drivetrains of these high-performance machines, their electric motors and batteries. The batteries inside Virgin Racing’s cars are not only the key to winning the Formula E championship; they are also the key to winning the Race Against Climate Change. Over the course of the next few years, electric drivetrains will improve, better batteries will emerge, and as a result the performance of Formula E cars will be enhanced. But at the same time, street-legal electric vehicles for passenger use will get more cost effective, will have a longer range, and will out-compete traditional cars with internal combustion engines in both cost and performance.

And those same batteries that are powering the electric mobility revolution are also making the solar and wind power on our electricity grids more stable and more useful, allowing them to displace more coal and oil and gas, reducing climate-destroying CO2 emissions. And what’s more, over time the price of electricity for your business or your household will plummet as a result.

The costs of renewables are falling fast, both the technologies and the ways of financing energy efficiency are getting better, and disruptive business models for clean energy and electric mobility are taking shape. That’s why key technologies like solar power and electric vehicles capturing a bigger share of global manufacturing and markets every year.

“There Will Be Nothing but Electric Vehicles”

One of the places RMI is working around the world is India, where we are supporting the Indian government’s bold commitment to electric vehicles by working with government and industry there. By 2030, there will be nothing but electric vehicles on the road in India, and car ownership will have long since peaked in the USA. This year, the UK and France agreed to ban the sale of internal-combustion-engine cars and vans by 2040, and just in time, too. We need to shift global energy to be both efficient and renewable by mid century if we are going to win the climate challenge

The commitment of companies to deliver low-carbon solutions is more crucial than ever. In fact, we are confident that it is the sustainable companies that, just like Formula E, will in due course be winning the competitive race in their industries. That’s because our work shows us that clean tech isn’t just better for the planet, it’s cheaper and it’s smarter.

We help Fortune 500 companies aggressively deploy renewable energy, because in many places wind and solar are already the most cost-effective electricity options. Many companies, like IKEA, HSBC, and and the Formula E Championship, are switching to 100% renewable energy. Many more companies already deliver low-carbon solutions for businesses and consumer alike, because customers want to see those sustainable products. And companies all over the world are making investments to be more energy efficient, because they know they can save money by getting more out of every kilowatt and joule they use.

“People like you will be needed”

Two years ago, the nations of the world aligned behind the Paris agreement to address Climate Change. Each country set out what they can do to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees. But these commitments alone are not enough to hit that goal. Active engagement from businesses and investors, from cities and universities, and from people like you will be needed if we are going to transition our energy system to low carbon in time to win the Race Against Climate Change.

The cities around the world hosting Formula E this season can learn a lot from one another about the journey to a sustainable energy future. Those cities, and supporters of Virgin Racing like you, can learn how to increase your energy productivity and reduce the pollution in your streets. One great place to learn immediate action you and your community can take is our Carbon Free Cities Handbook.

At Rocky Mountain Institute, we work with cities and communities to develop and implement the clean and efficient energy systems of the future. We work with companies and governments in the energy space, tackling climate change profitably. And on these blog pages and at Virgin Racing events around the world, we’ll be working with you to let you know about the Race Against Climate Change.

At RMI, we are business-led and market driven, working on practical energy solutions for industries and cities that can scale to reduce pollution and eliminate carbon emissions at gigaton scale. We help companies and governments profitably accelerate their renewable energy transition. And we believe that by working together we CAN win the race against the climate challenge. Please join us in that Race

To sign the Race Against Climate Change pledge click here