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Mars, IKEA say renewable energy goals will be difficult absent Clean Power Plan

Swedishfurniture maker IKEA and global food and candy manufacturer Mars Inc. are amongcompanies saying that absent a national carbon-reduction strategy like theClean Power Plan, businesses will be exposed to "undesirable risk"and could struggle to meet publicly stated renewable energy goals.

Partieshoping to sway theU.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit into siding with theU.S. EPA in the litigation against the carbon rule submitted briefs the week ofMay 28 to April 1. That included the EPA, which its authority under the CleanAir Act to promulgate the rule to kick off the week.

Supportersof the Clean Power Plan represent a broad swath of the U.S. economy. , , and offered their for the Clean Power Planand said the rule would be "good for business" in an April 1 friendof the court brief, also referred to as an amicus brief.

Laterthat day IKEA, Mars, Adobe Inc. and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusettscollectively filed as amici; all four operate across the country and use asignificant amount of power to run operations, manufacturing facilities, warehouses,data centers and other infrastructure. Therefore, the companies have asignificant stake in the outcome of the Clean Power Plan case, which couldimpact the low- and non-emitting resources the companies seek to help reducetheir carbon footprints.

Thefour companies have all made public pledges to source cleaner energy,committing to reducing emissions from their operations by as much as 25% to 30%over the next few years. More specifically, Mars last year to purchasing the electricaloutput and renewable energy credits associated with a Texas wind farm. IKEA hasacquired wind energy facilities in Illinoisand Texas, and hasplaced solar panels on most of its buildings in the U.S., part of a .

TheClean Power Plan will help the companies reach those goals, they said, but if acourt were to overturn or delay implementation of the rule, the companies will "beareconomic and social disruptions as a direct result of inaction on regulatingpower plant emissions."

Failureto meet publicly stated carbon mitigation goals could hurt the companies'businesses as these goals have been included in marketing campaigns and onproducts. "These public sustainability and renewable energy commitmentsare not hollow; they are driving global purchasing of electricity," thecompanies wrote. "A poor reputation on climate, such as not achievingtheir sustainability and emission reduction goals, can hurt sales and damagecustomer relations."

Otherchallenges exist for the companies when seeking more renewable resources. Someof them have moved to build renewable generation facilities on their own, butreaching 100% self-generation is still logistically difficult or in someinstances, impossible. Google, Apple and some other major technology companieshave been able to achieve more aggressivegoals, but other commercial consumers remain reliant on utilitiesand the existing electricity grid. That means they can negotiate the rate theypay for electricity, but the utility cannot always guarantee the source of theelectricity that is eventually delivered.

Butthe Clean Power Plan would promote renewables on a scale that would help thecompanies meet their commitments, they said, adding that the rule would notcause harm to their operations, but would in fact provide additional marketchoices for electricity procurement.

Thecompanies said they consider the availability, reliability and price ofelectricity when making major decisions on infrastructure siting, upgradingexisting facilities and planning supply chain paths. Uncertainty around thefuture of high-emitting fuel sources both in the U.S. and internationally, aswell as fuel price volatility, adds to the complexity of those decision-makingprocesses.