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Energy Customers in the Clean Tech Market

In wind and solar markets, energy customers have demonstrated how demand can stimulate the deployment of clean energy technologies. To achieve CEBA’s vision of a 90% carbon free US electricity system by 2030, new and pre-commercial technologies are required. Innovation, as well as deployment, is critical. As such, energy customers are well positioned to apply the same demand power that deployed gigawatts of wind and solar to support the development of new technologies beyond traditional renewables through investment and procurement.

Many companies already support emerging clean tech by acting as both investors in and customers of early-stage technology, while others are still unfamiliar with the clean tech ecosystem or unsure how to participate. Breaking down these barriers can help unlock corporate support for clean tech innovation. 

Support as an Investor

Many energy customers have venture capital funds dedicated to identifying and investing in start-ups with strategically relevant products and services. As interest in clean tech surges, energy customers are using venture capital investments to secure a stake in emerging solutions, which can help address their own carbon footprint and provide a sustainable competitive edge.

In 2021, corporate venture funds invested $23 billion in a broad array of climate technologies, more than double the amount of investment in 2020.  This is good news for start-ups lacking market traction, as venture capital is often a critical early-stage source of funding. 

Support as a Customer

Support for first-time customers can be a game changer for early-stage start-ups. Long-term offtake agreements, letters of intent, and purchasing contracts provide start-ups with revenue certainty, leverage in capital raises, technology de-risking, and a successful transaction model that can be replicated. Companies also indirectly catalyze clean tech innovation through public climate commitments, which are moving service providers to innovate product offerings to meet the evolving needs of their climate-oriented corporate customers.

Often occurring in tandem with a customer or investor relationship, energy customers can also collaborate with start-ups as business partners to enhance or scale a specific clean tech project, product, or service. 

Learn more

Energy customers can work together to remove barriers to deploying corporate capital through pre-competitive knowledge sharing that illuminates key factors for success.

The CEBA Building the Business Case for Deploying Clean Energy Technologies Primer provides key insights and lessons learned from recent clean tech and energy customer partnerships, exclusive for CEBA members. 

Not a CEBA member but want to learn more? Check out our member options here. Want to share your clean tech success story with us? Please reach out to