Corporate sourcing of renewable electricity can be a major driver of the transition to a robust, zero-emissions economy, according to the RE100 Annual Report, released last week to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
Launched in 2014, RE100 is a growing movement of some the world’s most influential companies committed to 100 percent renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.
The annual report highlights the speed of the corporate transition to cleaner energy. Many RE100 members have set a goal for achieving 100 percent renewable electricity before 2024, and 11 members already achieved 100 percent renewable electricity prior to 2015 – sending a clear market signal to governments and investors around the world that growing demand for renewable energy must be met sooner rather than later.
Based on the latest available electricity consumption data (2015) from RE100 members, the report also found:
- Member companies (87 and growing) are now creating demand for approximately 107 TWh of renewable power annually, roughly the same amount of electricity as consumed by The Netherlands;
- Members making fastest progress towards their 100 percent renewable electricity targets include Goldman Sachs, which jumped from 14 percent renewable electricity in 2014 to 86 percent in 2015; Elopak, which went from 18 percent to 86 percent renewable during the same year; and H&M, which went from 27 percent to 78 percent;
- Roughly half of the electricity being consumed by members reporting electricity use in the U.S. is from renewables, accounting for the highest amount of renewable electricity being sourced in any country worldwide (6.8 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases (RECs) being the most popular approach that year);
- Almost all of electricity usage reported by members in Europe is from renewables (14.4 TWh in 2015, with an even split between unbundled REC purchases and green tariffs as the most popular approaches that year);
- Nearly a quarter of the electricity usage reported by members in China is from renewables (0.4 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases being the most popular approach that year);
- Roughly a tenth of RE100 electricity use being reported in India is from renewables (0.1 TWh in 2015, with Power Purchasing Agreements [PPAs] being the most popular approach that year, followed by on-site generation);
- Of the 34 RE100 members reporting self-generation onsite at their facilities, wind and solar PV were by far the most popular technologies.
- Within the membership, Telecommunication Services is the closest sector to reaching 100 percent renewable electricity (97 percent in 2015).
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“From the US to China, the global energy landscape is transforming before our eyes,” said CDP CEO Paul Simpson. “The RE100 report shows this change is in no small part thanks to an increasing number of corporations demanding renewable energy. This powerful market signal should embolden investors to shift capital and spur policy-makers to ensure an enabling environment to meet the growing appetite for renewable power.”
Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group, said: “It is really encouraging to see that more companies than ever are committing to bold climate action, helping us move towards a net zero-emissions economy. But we need to see faster progress. In order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep global warming well below two degrees, we need governments to remove policy barriers and create investment incentives that can provide easier access to renewable energy. And we need more business leaders to influence the usage of renewable power right along their supply chains.”
New RE100 members announced
Danske Bank Group is a Nordic universal bank, headquartered in Copenhagen. The bank reached 100 percent renewable electricity in 2015 by purchasing unbundled RECs equivalent to its entire electricity consumption. London’s Gatwick Airport took a similar approach to become 100 percent renewable in 2013, and now has a further target to increase its share of direct purchasing by 2020. And Philips has a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020; the Dutch health technology company is currently working with four other international companies to sign long-term PPAs in the countries in which they all operate.
“The rapid expansion of membership in RE100 is a great indicator of the momentum behind renewable electricity,” said Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, one of the first U.S. company to join RE100 in 2014. “The business case is now evident and we expect continued acceleration of corporate engagement.”