Renewable Thermal Collaborative Wins $10 Million 2030 Climate Challenge

Washington, D.C. (June 22, 2021) — Today, the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) was announced as the winner of the 2030 Climate Challenge – a competition hosted by Lever for Change to advance climate change solutions in the industrial, building, or transportation sectors. The RTC will deploy the Challenge’s $10 million prize to scale the use of renewable thermal energy in the United States’ industrial sector by 150% this decade, slashing U.S. industrial thermal emissions by 30 percent and creating a pathway to full decarbonization by midcentury that supports a just transition.

“Decarbonizing industrial process heat is the new frontier for scaling renewable energy,” says Blaine Collison, the RTC’s Executive Director. “New technologies like green hydrogen, industrial electrification, solar thermal, renewable natural gas, biomass, and thermal storage must be developed rapidly and sustainably. The RTC is working to address technology, market, and policy barriers to accelerate the transformation.”

The RTC – co-convened by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), David Gardiner and Associates (DGA), and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – is a growing coalition of more than 20 large thermal energy users, including global industrials, U.S. localities, healthcare providers, and university systems, as well as more than 25 innovative renewable energy technology and solutions providers.

“The Renewable Thermal Collaborative is singularly focused on the often-overlooked and incredibly challenging emissions from industrial thermal energy use,” says Marty Spitzer, Senior Director, Climate and Renewable Energy at WWF. “We’re confronting this challenge with a tested approach and a bold goal to slash industrial thermal energy emissions 30 percent over the decade – giving us a credible path to achieving the Paris Agreement targets. WWF is proud to partner with C2ES and David Gardiner and Associates on this initiative and we are honored and grateful to Lever for Change for making this transformational gift possible.”

Over the next five years, the RTC will expand its initiatives to accelerate deployment of renewable thermal solutions through four strategic levers:

  • Vision – RTC will build greater consensus and thought leadership on how to optimize renewable thermal energy in decarbonizing U.S. industry.
  • Community – RTC will build a larger and more active community working to scale the deployment of renewable thermal energy in the U.S.
  • Action – RTC will drive increased deployment of renewable thermal energy technologies in the U.S. by:
    • Creating Technology Action Plans and Partnerships (TAPPs) around key renewable thermal technologies including green hydrogen, thermal storage, renewable natural gas, solar thermal, and beneficial electrification.
    • Creating Sector Action Plans and Partnerships (SAPPs) to support strategic engagements around critical industrial sectors.
    • Piloting replicable and scalable renewable thermal energy deployment models through more than 35 new projects and developing and disseminating the knowledge and case studies from the pilot projects.
  • Policy – RTC will educate key federal and state policymakers on why renewable thermal energy policy is needed and critical policy opportunities.

Currently, industrial process heat emits 12.5 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Addressing these emissions, and the many market, technological, and policy barriers that prevent companies from using renewable heat sources, is critical to meet 1.5°C climate goals.

“Under current policies, industry will become the largest source of climate pollution by the end of this decade,” said Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. “As we look to urgently decarbonize the entire economy, we must disrupt those manufacturing processes with thoughtful policies and investments in alternative pathways, making those technologies accessible, and rapidly growing economical renewable thermal options.”

“The RTC is an innovative partnership between manufacturers and other businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, state and local governments, and others which can create fundamental change at scale,” says David Gardiner, President of David Gardiner and Associates. “We aim to help make America’s businesses leaders in the clean and competitive global manufacturing economy.”

Nearly 70 consortiums applied for the 2030 Climate Challenge. The award is sponsored by an anonymous donor.


About the Renewable Thermal Collaborative:

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative is the leading coalition of industrial, commercial, and institutional energy users working to accelerate their use of renewable thermal solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The RTC is co-convened by the Center for Climate and Energy Resources, David Gardiner and Associates, and the World Wildlife Fund. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

Nicolette Santos

Communications Associate, Renewable Thermal Collaborative/ David Gardiner and Associates | (626) 862-8464

Evan Carlson

Communications Manager – Climate & Energy, World Wildlife Fund | (202) 495-4756

Alec Gerlach

Communications Director, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions