News

  • Newsletter: A year of accelerating international growth

    2018 marks our biggest year yet; 158 companies are now members of RE100. In November, we launched the RE100 Progress and Insights Annual Report 2018, highlighting the international growth of the initiative and the progress our members are making. RE-Source 2018 saw members gather at Europe’s largest PPA event, and the launch of a new call to action to EU policymakers. Read on for more.


    RE100 Progress & Insights Report 2018

    Our fourth annual report shows that RE100 members, operating in more than 140 markets, have increased the amount of electricity sourced from renewables by 41% in just one year. Their impressive progress and leadership on renewables is setting a clear precedent for other corporates.

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    New companies join RE100

    Commonwealth Bank of Australia became the first Australian RE100 member, and The Allianz Group, BESTSELLER and Hair O’right also joined RE100, all with ambitious targets to source 100% renewables before 2025. We look forward to welcoming more big names in 2019.

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    RE-Source 2018 and EU member's meeting

    Over 800 participants attended our RE-Source event, bringing together buyers and sellers across Europe. We held a members’ meeting to discuss barriers and opportunities for renewables procurement in Europe. Thank you to those members who signed a declaration calling for EU policymakers to remove barriers to corporate sourcing.

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    Japanese call to action

    12 Japanese RE100 members signed a call to action for the Japanese government to set out a strategy for net-zero emissions by 2050, led by our regional delivery partner, Japan-CLP.

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    RE100 webinars

    RE100 members were invited to our quarterly campaign update webinar as well as an overview and growth forecast of the renewable electricity market in Israel. Please get in contact if your company is an RE100 member and you would like to watch the recordings.

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    Member news

    Starbucks signed a long-term agreement for wind power which will power 340 stores in Illinois with 100% renewable electricity.

    Facebook's new data centers in Georgia and Alabama are to be supplied with 100% renewable electricity.

    Vail Resorts announced a long-term wind VPPA to purchase enough electricity to power 100% of its North American operations with renewables by 2020.


    To find out about our events and webinars, go to www.there100.org/events

  • Blog: DSM - Turning the tide by making waves through corporate climate action

    As the COP24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland enter their final days, Paulette van Ommen, Global Climate Lead at RE100 member DSM shares the actions the company is taking to step up on renewables, reduce its environmental impact, and accelerate market change.

    Did you know that over a century ago, DSM started off as a Dutch coal mining company? Fast forward to today, we’ve transformed into a global, purpose-led, performance-driven company in nutrition, health and sustainable living, working at the frontlines of climate action.

    With the world’s scientists flagging the climate disruption ahead of us, we believe that doing so is an important responsibility. Mother Earth has a fever, and we as humans are already affected by her sweating, sneezing, and coughing in the form of droughts, floods, and storms.

    Taking climate action is also an opportunity. As the recent New Climate Economy report pointed out: a thriving, low-carbon economy could deliver a direct economic gain of US$26 trillion by 2030, compared to business as usual.

    That’s why, at DSM, we improve our own environmental impact, enable the same for our customers, and advocate a progressive climate action agenda. In each of these, scaling renewable energy in an environmentally sound way is a key priority.

    Firstly, when it comes to improving our own environmental impact, we’ve set ourselves clear goals. We’ll cut 30% of our own (so-called Scope 1&2) greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2016, in absolute terms.

    How? By being smarter in our energy use, and by sourcing 75% of our purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – a new, higher interim target we set earlier this year, as we journey to being 100% renewable.

    In the Netherlands, we’re already at 100% renewable purchased electricity, thanks to our collaboration with energy company Eneco and the Dutch Wind Consortium, a partnership between DSM, Google, Philips, AkzoNobel. In the USA, we’ve teamed up with NextEra Energy Sources to buy wind electricity produced in Oklahoma.

    Our €50 internal carbon price, which we use when reviewing large investment decisions – including on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects – helps us to future-proof our business.

    We’re not acting in isolation. DSM is one of 158 companies in The Climate Group’s  RE100 initiative, with a collective electricity demand greater than Argentina and Portugal combined, as the new RE100 report reveals.

    We also encourage our suppliers to follow our lead. A few months ago, we kicked off this journey on the DSM Supplier Partnerships Day, where former UN climate chief and “stubborn optimist”, Christiana Figueres came over to inspire us.

    Indeed, her latest Nature article (supported by DSM’s CEO Feike Sijbesma) flags that today, more than 50% of new capacity for generating electricity is renewable, with wind and solar doubling every four years.

    Secondly, through our innovations, we also enable greenhouse gas emissions cuts for our customers, and their customers, who use our products.

    For example, our solar solutions help boost the output of PV modules. Our endurance backsheets are 100% recyclable with no production waste and have a 30% lower CO2 footprint compared to fluorinated backsheets. Our backsheets also help extend the lifetime of PV modules in very harsh conditions, like in desert where it’s hot and there’s a lot of sand, and in tropical environments, where it’s hot and humid.

    As IRENA and the International Energy Agency pointed out in a 2016 report, it’s key to integrate circular principles in renewable electricity generation, too, as PV module waste will emerge as a major source of electronic waste over the coming decades.

    Thirdly, while we put our money where our mouth is, we also have to use our mouth when it matters.

    Just before the current climate summit in Poland, together with 50 CEOs in the CEO Climate Leaders Alliance of the World Economic Forum, we launched an open letter to call on world leaders to accelerate and deepen their commitment to act on climate change.

    Having a meaningful price on carbon is an agenda we’ve been driving for years now. Putting a price tag on carbon stimulates what we want more of (renewable energy, clean air, jobs, innovation) at the expense of what we want less of (pollution and heat-trapping gases).

    For renewable electricity to scale further and faster, we need government policies and private sector leadership to be mutually reinforcing. This positive feedback loop, also called ‘the ambition loop’, is put into practice by our fellow RE100 members.

    Many are adding their voice to the #StepUpNow initiative, which brings together a range of non-state actors who jointly demonstrate a clear movement for a stronger response to climate change in Europe. It builds on the success of a similar initiative we helped launch immediately after the 2016 presidential elections in the US: #WeAreStillIn.

    While we’re still on a journey, DSM’s multiple transformations and ongoing actions inspire many people. Given what’s at stake, it’s now time to transform not only our individual companies, but our societies and economic systems.

    We can still turn the tide, but to succeed, we have to be ready to make waves. Together. At DSM, we are! As a consumer, citizen and professional: are you?

     

  • Blog: Leading the shift to renewable power in Europe

    As RE-Source 2018 kicks off in Amsterdam, bringing together 800 energy buyers and suppliers, The Climate Group’s RE100 Policy and Campaign Manager Ola Mirowicz explores how RE100 members are already shifting the European renewables market and how ambitious policy change can accelerate its growth even further.

    At RE-Source 2018 in Amsterdam,  I'm squeezed in between over 800 businesses and energy suppliers, at the grand opening of this year’s conference. Policymakers and business leaders share their stories of investment in the European renewable energy market. The room is full and the air is one of optimism. 

    With under a month to go before COP24 in Katowice, the timing for this event couldn’t be better. As the recent IPCC special report made clear, we have little time to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, and the task of just transition to a low carbon energy future can at times seem daunting.

    Today, however, I feel galvanized by the action I’m witnessing here: ambitious companies, innovative energy suppliers, and forward-thinking policymakers and organizations showcase how they are going to bring the number of businesses buying renewable power from 100 to 100,000. This is no easy job, but as our recent RE100 Annual Progress and Insights Report shows, RE100 is already making it happen. 

    RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, now brings together 155 companies committed to 100% renewable electricity in more than 140 markets across the globe. With 77 RE100 companies based in Europe, it is at the heart of our movement – and with our members’ operations spread across EU Members States, it’s no surprise to see so many familiar faces across the conference rooms. Yet there is still more to do. 

    Accelerating the clean energy transition in Europe

    Business action on renewable electricity is shifting global markets. Our new report reveals that RE100 members increased the amount of renewable electricity they source by 41% in one year -  and that 37 member companies are already sourcing over 95% renewable power.

    Europe is where our members source the highest share of renewable electricity, 62% in 2017. Due to a well- functioning Guarantees of Origin tracking system, as well as dynamically developing markets for power purchase agreements (PPAs), we are expecting this number to grow exponentially. Some individual European countries are already forging ahead, with RE100 members sourcing 93% renewables in Denmark, 82% in the UK and 81% in Switzerland.

    This is a fantastic story of progress. Yet despite these achievements, policy barriers are still the barrier most commonly cited by RE100 members as limiting corporate renewables sourcing.

    Unlocking corporate renewables sourcing

    That’s why the businesses joining me today at the RE-Source 2018 event are calling for EU policymakers to grasp the untapped potential for corporate sourcing of renewables in Europe. This can only be realized by the removal of policy and market barriers that constrain the growth of renewables in many European markets.

    Such barriers are particularly prominent for PPAs. 6 GW of PPAs have already been signed in Europe, yet we know the market is still lagging behind the USA.

    Last year, we called on the EU to reform the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), so that the EU 2030 renewables target could increase to 32% and important provisions could unlock corporate investment in renewables. Now we are calling on Member States to enact it.

    To fully unlock the potential for corporate PPAs in Europe, we need the EU to remove existing regulatory barriers, allowing direct corporate investment in new renewable capacity to expand beyond the Netherlands, the UK and the Nordic countries.

    This work is carried forward through our involvement in the new RE-Source Declaration, co-signed by several of our RE100 members. This declaration will serve as a vehicle for enabling our 2019 policy discussions in EU Member States, starting with Poland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, and continue the work on progress in the UK and Sweden.  

    Crucially, enabling greater sourcing of corporate PPAs also involves a recognition of the different needs of different companies. During my recent speaking engagements in the less saturated renewable markets of Central and Eastern Europe, namely Poland, Romania and Hungary, I learnt that while energy suppliers are ready to jump on the PPAs opportunity, our members will often have very varied consumer needs, at times driven by price, while in other places by commercial user behaviour. We are taking this into account when pushing for long-term and economically viable means to source 100% renewable electricity across different European countries.

    An economic opportunity

    I am always amazed by how much can be achieved in collaborations between the energy industry, companies and third sector partners. At RE-Source 2018, we are creating peer-to-peer spaces where buyers can meet sellers and in a spirit of competition further drive down prices for renewable electricity. It is such shifts that lead to the growing economic opportunity presented by renewables - a key driver for RE100 members sourcing clean power, as shown in our recent report.

    This is also a collective opportunity for EU Member States, their economies, communities and environment. In 2016, The EU wind energy industry contributed (directly and indirectly) €36.1bn to the EU's Gross Domestic Product, and by 2021, the European solar power industry is expected to sustain nearly 175,000 full time jobs. With countries like Spain showing leadership by setting targets to be 100% renewable by 2050,  the opportunity presented by clean power is clearly gaining traction. 

    Re-Source 2018 proves it is possible to deliver climate and energy policy from the bottom-up, with market players engaging policymakers to take action. RE100 members are driving forward the European shift to clean energy, making a calculated business choice to invest in renewable power and by doing so, growing the clean economy in the EU. This is a collaborative leadership story the EU should be proud of at COP24 in Poland this year - and a stepping stone for even more ambitious action.

  • Companies seize new markets in clean energy drive to cap global warming at 1.5°C

    • RE100 initiative goes truly global with members now operating in over 140 markets;
    • 41% increase in amount of renewable electricity sourced by RE100 members in one year;
    • 37 leading members already sourcing over 95% renewable electricity globally.

    London, UK: A dramatic upsurge in demand for renewable energy from ambitious multinational companies is now shifting markets away from fossil fuels in more than 140 markets worldwide, a new RE100 report reveals.

    RE100 is the corporate leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power.

    Identifying Japan, Australia, Mexico, Turkey and Taiwan as growth hotspots, the RE100 Progress and Insights Annual Report Moving To Truly Global Impact shows a 41% increase in renewable electricity sourced by RE100 companies in 2017, compared to 2016.

    With the falling cost of renewables strengthening the business case for switching, 37 companies are already over 95% renewable, and six members reached their 100% goal for the first time.

    RE100 now has 155 members with a total electricity demand greater than Argentina and Portugal combined – 188 TWh per year. If RE100 were a country, it would have the 23rd largest electricity consumption in the world. With a combined revenue of US$4.5 trillion – 5% of global GDP – the companies represent a major source of finance for clean energy infrastructure.

    Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “With so much depressing news at the moment, here we have a refreshing, positive story of how ambitious corporate action is changing the world for the better.

    “We congratulate RE100 members on the progress they are making by building renewables into their growth strategies, and engaging policymakers and suppliers. This is what all leading multinationals should be doing.

    “There’s no room for complacency – we’ve still some way to go – but this unstoppable momentum should give national governments the confidence to set more ambitious emissions reduction goals, in line with the latest science and no more than 1.5°C warming.”

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, added: “Over the past year we’ve seen rapid geographic expansion of our membership that has transformed RE100 into a truly global movement. This is hugely exciting and has the potential to shift entire markets in places like Japan, where policymakers are taking note of the demand signal being sent by our members. 

    “2019 will be all about building that demand across sectors and geographies with the highest potential to effect change, accelerating the clean energy systems of tomorrow.”

    Other key findings

    • More than three in four members are targeting 100% renewable electricity by or before 2030;
    • Most members are based in Europe (77), followed by North America (53), Asia (24), and Oceania (1) – with 10 of the 37 new joiners in 2018 based in Japan;
    • On average, members are sourcing over a third of their electricity from renewables (38% in 2017);
    • Several members have surpassed interim targets – showing businesses can go faster than they first expect;
    • IT companies lead on progress (averaging 73% renewable electricity in 2017), and there has been significant improvement from Health Care and Financials;
    • The highest share of renewable electricity is still being sourced in Europe (62% in 2017), with Denmark (93%), the UK (82%) and Switzerland (81%) coming out on top;
    • Renewable electricity sourced via power purchase agreements (PPAs) almost doubled in 2017, compared to 2016 – an increasingly popular sourcing method;
    • As last year, companies see the economic case as a key driver for going 100% renewable, and policy barriers are the most commonly cited barrier;
    • Increasingly, members are engaging with policymakers and suppliers to further increase the uptake of renewable electricity.

    Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP Inc., which made the most progress of all RE100 members in 2017, sourcing 50% of its electricity from renewables in 2017 (compared to 16% in 2016), and surpassing its interim target of 40% by 2020 three years ahead of schedule, said:

    “In light of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming issued in October 2018, it’s clear that businesses must accelerate their transition to renewable energy sources as a way to reduce the devastating consequences of climate change.

    “We are committed to reaching our goal of using 100% renewable electricity in our global operations and urge other companies to aggressively set and pursue their own renewable energy goals, thereby ensuring a sustainable future for everyone.” 

    Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Director of Science Based Targets and Renewable Energy, CDP, said:

    “The global expansion of the RE100 initiative is a hugely encouraging indicator of the strengthening business case for renewable energy. As clean energy costs continue to plummet globally, and business leaders are becoming ever more aware of the risks of a high-carbon business model, it’s clear that renewable power is the future for global business.

    “RE100 members are leading the market by showing it’s possible to go 100% renewable, and fast. This is precisely the kind of ambition the recent IPCC report on limiting climate change to 1.5°C demands. For the growing number of companies aligning their strategies with climate science, procuring renewable energy is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to meet their emissions reduction goals. As science-based target setting becomes standard business practice, the stage is set for companies everywhere to step up and commit to a 100% renewable future.”

    Today’s RE100 report comes ahead of a major event in Amsterdam on November 20-21, bringing together renewable energy buyers and sellers. Organized by SolarPower Europe and WindEurope together with The Climate Group and CDP (RE100) and WBCSD, RE-Source 2018 is Europe’s premier PPA event, demonstrating the potential to expand corporate sourcing of renewables into new markets and industries.

  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia becomes first Australian company to join global business push for renewable electricity

    Renewable energy is good for the environment and good for the economy – that’s the message from Australia’s largest bank today as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) pledged to source 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030 to help lower its emissions. 

    CBA becomes the first Australian company to join RE100, the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable power led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. By making the RE100 commitment, CBA is building corporate demand for clean energy in Australia and overseas, while demonstrating it is a financially sound investment.

    Also today, CBA announced a 12-year power purchase agreement (PPA) from a new 270 MW wind farm, now the largest wind farm in New South Wales. This will see CBA source 65% of its national electricity needs from renewables by January 2019 – further reducing its carbon emissions in Australia by as much as 60%.

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: “Around the world forward-thinking companies want access to clean, cheap power that lowers emissions and increases competitiveness. As the first Australian business to join RE100, Commonwealth Bank will achieve exactly that, while helping to lead Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.

    “Long-term renewable energy purchasing agreements like this support the development of new energy infrastructure and actively bring more renewables online. We’re confident that other major Australian companies will follow Commonwealth Bank’s lead.”

    Kylie Macfarlane, General Manager of Corporate Responsibility, CBA, said: “Commonwealth Bank has made significant progress on our climate commitments and to be the first Australian company to join RE100 is a great achievement for us.

    “We continue to build on our track record of reducing energy use, and subsequent emissions, across our branches and offices. Since 2009 we have halved our direct emissions in Australia and we’ve installed solar panels at more than 50 branches across the country.  

    “This power purchasing agreement will see Commonwealth Bank use renewable energy for 65 per cent of our Australian electricity needs which is a significant step towards our transition to 100 per cent renewable electricity use by 2030.”

    The author and sustainability expert Jon Dee, who is helping The Climate Group with the development of RE100 in Australia, said: “Reducing emissions can mean reducing electricity bills. By signing this substantial wind deal and sourcing clean power, Commonwealth Bank will save money compared to the conventional energy it has been buying. This approach sets a positive role model for other Australian companies to follow.”

    CBA already operates on-site solar projects at more than 50 of its branches. Its new PPA will see the company receiving 96,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually from the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm. The wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. 

    CBA’s commitment comes three weeks after the first Australian RE100 meeting with speakers including members Fujitsu, Mars and Unilever. Organized and hosted by Arup, the meeting brought together companies and market stakeholders to send a strong demand signal for renewable energy in Australia.

    In total, 155 RE100 companies have now committed to 100% renewable electricity.

  • RE100 newsletter: Going Down Under, member updates and RE-Source 2018

    Following a successful first RE100 event in Australia, the next members’ meeting, with a European focus, will take place in November ahead of RE-Source in Amsterdam. With just over a month to go until COP24, The Climate Group is looking to hear of announcements members are planning. Please get in touch with any activities you would like to share. Read on for more information, progress stories and upcoming events.


    First RE100 event in Australia

    Hosted by Arup, this event brought together major global businesses and other stakeholders to demonstrate the potential for corporate sourcing of renewables in Australia and the urgent need for a shift away from coal.

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    RE100 leadership at REBA Summit and VERGE

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, explored leadership and impact of RE100 members at the REBA Summit and how to grow the 100% renewables movement further at VERGE Energy. RE100 members speaking included WeWork, Citibank, Lyft and Organic Valley.

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    PwC and Coop Sapporo join RE100

    Professional services network PwC joined RE100 with a commitment to power 70% of its operations with renewables by 2022 and 100% by 2050, while Coop Sapporo became our 13th Japanese RE100 member.

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    Upcoming RE100 members' meeting

    Ahead of RE-Source 2018, we are hosting the next RE100 members’ meeting on November 19 (17:00-19:00) at Hotel Okura in Amsterdam, followed by a networking reception and dinner. Please confirm your attendance to Eleanor Dinnadge.

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    RE100 webinar on biomass with ClientEarth

    Gold members were invited to a webinar on the sustainability risks of biomass for power generation.

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    Member news

    Sony brought forward its target year for reaching 100% renewable electricity in the US to 2030 – 10 years ahead of its global target.

    T-Mobile US signed on to a new green power program to power its Bellevue, Washington headquarters with 100% renewable electricity by 2021.

    Google published a discussion paper on how it will source carbon-free energy for its operations on a 24x7 basis.

    General Motors announced that its Arlington Assembly plant now runs on 100% clean wind electricity.

    Microsoft signed a 90 MW wind power purchase agreement (PPA) in Pennsylvania and announced a new solution concept for mitigating risks associated with the structure of PPAs.

    Walmart signed a trio of wind PPAs in the US for a total of 223 MW of power.

    Iron Mountain signed a 145 MW PPA in Kansas – its biggest yet.


    To find out about our events and webinars, go to www.there100.org/events

  • Businesses unite to drive uptake of renewable energy in Australia

    RE100 has gone Down Under, demonstrating the potential for corporate sourcing of renewables to help shift the energy market in Australia away from polluting coal.

    This week saw the first Australian meeting of RE100 – the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable electricity led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

    The event was organised and hosted by Arup in Sydney, and explored how Australia’s business sector can collectively upscale corporate renewables.

    To date, 154 RE100 companies have made a commitment to go 100% renewable globally - generating enough demand for renewables to power New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria combined.

    Some 75 of these 154 companies have operations in Australia, including Fujitsu, Mars, Inc. and Unilever, who spoke of their commitment to renewables in the country.

    Appealing to major Australian businesses to join RE100, Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said; "Australia has a golden opportunity to play a leading role in delivering a clean economy - RE100 companies are seizing the chance to invest in low-cost renewable electricity because it makes business sense."

    He added, "Australia's lack of clear energy policy direction has led to inflated costs and reliance on antiquated power sources, but forward-thinking businesses are planning for the long term - they want to be competitive globally."

    Earlier this year, Mars signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA)  to source the equivalent of 100% of its electricity use in Australia from renewable energy by 2020. 

    At the time, Barry O’Sullivan, Mars Australia said, "The rise in electricity prices last year accelerated our plans to join Mars sites in the US, UK and 9 other countries in moving to renewable electricity. We acted quickly because the price volatility of energy in Australia made renewables the best option for our business, in addition to getting us closer to our commitment to eliminate greenhouse gasses from our operations by 2040."

    Also speaking at the RE100 meeting were Christoph Frei, the Secretary General and CEO of The World Energy Council and Monica Richter, Senior Manager, Low Carbon Futures, WWF. Author, broadcaster and Arup consultant Jon Dee was the facilitator.

    The meeting followed Arup's World Energy Mix Forum at Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra, when Sam Kimmins of The Climate Group presented RE100 to MPs and interested companies.

    A recent RE100 report with Capgemini shows how companies committed to 100% renewable power have an edge on their peers.

    2016-17 data taken from a sample of 3,500 companies, shows RE100 businesses (committed to 100% renewable electricity) consistently perform better than non-members on two key financial indicators: net profit margin and EBIT margin (Earnings Before Interests and Taxes).

    To find out more about joining RE100, click here or email info@RE100.org.

     

     

  • Demonstrating leadership on renewables: Microsoft drives innovative solutions in the US

    RE100 member Microsoft has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for renewable power from a 90MW wind project in rural Pennsylvania, US, and is helping to open up the local market to further direct investment by businesses in renewables.

    RE100 is the global corporate leadership initiative on renewables led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, bringing together more than 150 companies committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity.

    The Big Level wind facility by TransAlta is the third PPA signed by Microsoft in the PJM Interconnection, and takes the company’s total renewable electricity portfolio to more than 1.2 gigawatts (GW) across six states and three continents.

    As well as clean power, the project will bring multiple economic and social benefits to Hector Township. Construction is now underway – creating 100 jobs, and over the life of the project, local communities will receive more than $8 million in tax benefits and landowner lease payments.

    "Working with companies like TransAlta to bring new projects online, especially wind projects in states outside the Wind Belt, is good for our business, the community and the clean energy economy," said Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Microsoft.

    John Kousinioris, President, TransAlta Renewables added, "Microsoft is a leader in procurement of renewable energy and a catalyst for change in how corporate customers can control their energy procurement.” 

    Accelerating market change

    Further to sourcing 100% renewable power for its own operations, Microsoft is demonstrating further leadership in the transition to renewables by helping to open up the market to smaller players.

    The IT giant has created a new contract to sit on top of PPAs to remove risk for buyers and incentivize aggregated energy storage – providing solutions that are scalable and affordable.

    PPAs are an increasingly popular way for businesses to source renewable electricity. The last RE100 Progress and Insights Report showed how 2016 saw a fourfold increase in the use of PPAs by RE100 members, and according to Microsoft, renewable energy created from PPAs went from zero to more than 13 gigawatts in the US in less than a decade.

    “This rapid growth, both within our portfolio and beyond, is because these deals are good for business,” write Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Sustainability and Kenneth Davies, Director of Innovation for Energy Strategy & Research, Microsoft, in a blog.

    “Renewable energy agreements help companies meet sustainability commitments customers increasingly expect and – if structured properly – do so in a way that provides a hedge against the risk of rising electricity costs on the open market. The fuel for renewable energy projects – the wind and the sun – are free, enabling a fixed price over the length of the agreement.”

    They continue, “However, as the market has matured, it’s become clear that other risks and complexities exist within the PPA structure that may inhibit their effectiveness as risk management tools. The failure to simplify this complex process and mitigate the risk assumed by the buyer could endanger the corporate procurement market, causing it to slow or stall out completely.”

    Driving innovation

    To overcome this challenge and encourage thousands of smaller companies to invest in PPAs, Microsoft has developed a ‘volume firming agreement’ (VFA) to address near-term price fluctuations created by the hourly variability of wind and solar. Effectively, VFAs remove the risk from the buyer and relocate it to those who want it – namely insurance companies.

    To date, Microsoft has signed three such contracts with Allianz, covering three wind projects in Texas, Illinois, and Kansas, totalling almost 500 MW.

    “At Microsoft, we are committed to driving a more sustainable future beyond our own four walls,” write Janous and Davies. “That is why our corporate energy commitments are broader than just megawatts. We intend to support and enable the transformation of the energy sector using our buying power and innovations so everyone can benefit.”

    Mike Peirce, Corporate Partnerships Director, The Climate Group, praised the company’s success. “Since joining RE100 in 2015, Microsoft has consistently demonstrated leadership by switching to direct sourcing of renewable energy and backing supportive policy frameworks. Having already achieved 100% renewable electricity, it’s fantastic to see the company now driving forward innovative solutions to help companies of all sizes to do the same.”

    Microsoft’s news comes in the wake of a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warns of rapidly increasing impacts of global warming above 1.5° Celsius.

    A recent RE100 paper sets out recommendations for ways in which companies can demonstrate leadership on renewable electricity and accelerate market shifts.

    Read more RE100 news here.

  • PwC commits to source 100% renewable electricity for global operations

    Professional services network PwC has joined RE100 with a target to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2050 and an interim goal of 70% by 2022.

    RE100 is a global leadership initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. It brings together leading companies committed to source 100% renewable electricity, growing demand for – and delivery of – clean power.

    The interim target will be met by PwC first sourcing renewables for 21 of its largest firms, extending the commitment to cover the rest of its operations by 2050. Last year, 60% of electricity used by PwC’s largest operations – representing 88% of its revenue – came from renewable sources.

    Mike Peirce, Corporate Partnerships Director, The Climate Group, said: “By joining RE100 and committing to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations, PwC makes it clear that renewable power is integral to a future-oriented business strategy.

    “As a network of firms in over 150 countries, PwC is sending a powerful message that business has a key opportunity to grow demand for clean energy across the globe.”

    Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC commented: “We believe business has a key role to play in solving societal challenges alongside other stakeholders. This commitment is for us a recognition of the need to accelerate the pace of change, and individual business commitments, collectively, will make a critical difference to that.”

    Lowering emissions

    Over the past year PwC has reduced its global emissions by 4%, with emissions per employee reduced by 7%. PwC UK has achieved an 85% reduction of emissions from energy use over the last 11 years, and PwC Netherlands has introduced an internal cost of carbon.

    Alongside its RE100 commitment, the consultancy giant is introducing an air travel offsetting program backed by strict criteria. 

    Colm Kelly, PwC Global Leadership Team member and Corporate Responsibility Board Chair, said:

     “While our carbon impact is relatively low, it’s still important that we take action to tackle our emissions. Operating efficiently is simply good business and these commitments are a great way of keeping up momentum on embedding smarter ways of working. As we work towards our commitment we will offset unavoidable emissions from air travel by investing in high quality projects.”

    PwC will also offset residual electricity use until its 2050 target is met, helping to manage the transition.

  • Iron Mountain signs 145 MW power purchase agreement in Kansas

    RE100 member Iron Mountain has announced its biggest power purchase agreement (PPA) yet, signing a corporate deal for 145 MW of new wind power from a project in Kansas.

    RE100 is the global corporate leadership initiative on renewable electricity led by The Climate Group  in partnership with CDP.

    The amount of renewable electricity generated by the PPA will be enough to power 56,000 US homes and will reduce fossil fuel emissions equivalent to removing more than 101,000 cars from the road annually.

    The wind farm will also support 250 jobs during construction and generate millions of dollars in revenue for the local community.

    Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: “With this new power purchase agreement, Iron Mountain is bringing more renewable power onto the Kansas grid, supporting local economic growth and jobs and decarbonizing its own operations.”

    He added: “RE100 members are driving forward a clean economy and this is a shining example of how renewables are a win-win for both business and the climate.”

    Kevin Hagen, vice president of Environmental Social and Governance Strategy, Iron Mountain, said: “Renewable energy has become a key strategic component in how we manage electricity usage throughout our global real estate portfolio.

    “What is especially exciting is that, with this agreement and the achievement of other milestones, 100 percent of our data center business now operates on renewable electricity.

    “When you consider the sheer amount of electricity required to power our entire operational portfolio, it’s truly remarkable to hit these goals in a ‘business-positive’ manner that leverages renewable energy to help us reduce utility expenses, stabilize rates and reduce the business risks associated with fossil fuels.”

    Powering growth

    The new PPA will take Iron Mountain to 75% global renewable electricity usage in 2018, moving the data storage giant closer to being fully renewably powered by 2050; a target set through RE100.

    Iron Mountain will partner with NextEra Energy Resources on the agreement, which will result in the construction of a new wind farm and bring increased renewable electricity capacity onto the Kansas grid. The Pretty Prairie Wind Farm will be built in Reno County and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, with Iron Mountain purchasing a portion of the electricity it generates.

    Over its first 30 years in operation, the wind farm is estimated to generate $50 million in payments to local landowners, as well as millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to the local community.

    John Di Donato, vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources, said: “The Pretty Prairie Wind project will not only help advance Iron Mountain’s renewable energy goals, it will help drive the local economy forward, creating good jobs, millions of dollars in landowner payments, and additional revenue for the community to enhance roads, schools, and other essential services.”

    On the path to 100%

    With over 1,400 facilities across more than 50 countries, Iron Mountain has a significant carbon and energy footprint. Over the last four years the company has been increasingly meeting its energy needs from renewable sources.

    In August 2018, the data giant announced that all its operations in Belgium, Ireland the Netherlands and the UK had reached the goal of being powered by 100% renewable electricity. All its global data centers also operate fully on renewable power.

    Read more news from RE100 members here.