No one is doing more to force utilities to build renewable energy more than corporate customers across the U.S. If a homeowner or a few thousand in a utility's territory decide to install rooftop solar systems and reduce demand from the grid, it'll hurt a little, but business will go on as usual.
But if big corporate customers demand renewable energy and threaten to take their business elsewhere if they don't get it, the impact can be huge. In Nevada, MGM Resortsrecently said it would leave the grid, despite an exit fee of $87 million, and take 4.9% of NV Energy's demand with it. I imagine that got the attention of executives all the way up to utility owner Warren Buffett in Omaha.
MGM isn't the only company looking for alternatives to the grid, whether it's for the public relations boost from "going green" or the cost savings that may come with on-site generation. Corporate customers are looking at energy more closely than ever before and utilities have to find ways to accommodate those needs. And tech may be leading the charge more than you think.