Monday, May 14, 2007

EPA Ranking and Political Contributions

The EPA ranks companies based on the amount of renewable energy they generate or purchase to meet their electricity needs. The ranking is based on data submitted by the companies and submission is on a voluntary basis. Nonetheless, the results were suprising. I was assuming that Silicon Valley companies, given their interest in renewables would be disproportionately represented. Pepsi Cola, Wells Fargo, and HSBC suprised me: Wells and HSBC cited Wind as their main source of renewables, while Pepsi generated 100% of its electricity needs from "various" renewable sources.

I plotted the EPA ranking of the top for-profit organizations, and used the Open Secrets database of PAC contributions for the 2006 election cycle, to highlight the partisan breakdown of the contributions. In the graph below, the length of a bar is the amount of electricity (in thousands of megawatts) purchased as of April 9, 2007, the percentage next to a bar is the proportion of electricity from renewable sources. I highlighted the companies with at least 70% of Total Electricity purchased coming from renewables. The graphs are also color-coded based on the percentage of PAC contributions made to each party:

(To enlarge an image, click on it.) Not suprisingly, the PAC contributions were mostly to Republican candidates, with the exception of Nike (54% Democrats), and to a lesser extent Safeway (45%), Sprint (46%), and Cisco (46%). Significantly, none of the Top 20 PACs, appear in the EPA Top 25 ranking:

CEO's have recently been showing interest in climate change, let's see if the PR events translate to significant commitments in renewables.

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