EDF Climate Corps still growing strong after 10 years
Ten years ago, EDF found itself head-on with a challenge: how to effectively jump-start corporate energy efficiency initiatives. We started EDF Climate Corps, a summer fellowship program, with the theory that a small, intense injection of effort could catalyze investment in energy efficiency, giving companies the opportunity to capitalize on the associated cost and energy savings. That was 10 years ago.
Since then, more than 800 fellows have been placed in over 430 organizations to advance corporate energy management.
We have seen companies use their help to go beyond single-site projects and scale energy efficiency across their entire portfolios of facilities. This growth is representative of a vibrant and growing industry. Deploying energy efficiency has become a mainstream practice, and an entire ecosystem of service providers has cropped up to support these efforts. Employment in this market has skyrocketed, and energy efficiency represents the largest source of clean energy jobs in the country.
But the corporate energy challenge doesn’t stop there.
While energy efficiency continues to be an important way for companies to reduce carbon emissions from electricity, it can get them only so far. Alongside scaled-up efficiency efforts, holistic, strategic energy management plans that include clean energy generation (onsite and offsite) must be developed — and many companies are stepping up to the plate to do so.
Today we observe companies asking fellows to explore clean energy procurement options, dig through various state and federal incentive structures and effectively build the business case for investing in new, clean generation sources.
Today, clean energy is where energy efficiency was for companies a decade ago.
Building on the success of 10 years of fellowships, we are excited to announce that this summer more than 100 new EDF Climate Corps fellows from top universities in the United States and China will help companies such as McDonald’s, Boston Scientific, JPMorgan Chase and Walmart meet their carbon and energy reduction goals.
Fellows will scale energy efficiency, deploy clean energy technologies (1/3 of this latest class will work on clean energy solutions), help companies set strategies to achieve science-based greenhouse gas mitigation goals and even dig into carbon reductions in supply chains. They’ll also set themselves up for lasting careers in clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainability, alongside 4 million other Americans. We know that our network of over 1,500 sustainability-focused professionals will help them along the way.
Corporate commitments for reducing carbon emissions are only getting stronger. Despite federal rollbacks in environmental protections, companies continue to navigate clean energy innovation, and we’re excited to see how the next 10 years of EDF Climate Corps will help drive this momentum.