A new milestone in corporate renewables procurement has been reached, as the Dutch wind consortium – consisting of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, DSM, Google and Royal Philips – received its first power from the new Bouwdokken wind farm in the Netherlands.
In October 2016 and January 2017, the four companies signed two long-term corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) to jointly source power from the Krammer and Bouwdokken Wind Parks, which will have a total capacity of more than 140 MW. The latter of these two projects delivered generation to the companies for the first time this week.
All four companies are members of RE100, a collaborative initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, which unites the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity.
Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, said: “Congratulations to Akzonobel, DSM, Google and Royal Philips – this is a fantastic show of leadership by RE100 members that makes total business sense. The success of the Consortium sends a powerful signal to utilities that corporate off-takers want affordable access to renewables – and fast. By collaborating with like-minded, ambitious peers, these pioneers are accelerating market change and driving a zero-emissions economy. It is also sends a powerful signal to governments that businesses are prepared to make long term commitments to support large scale renewable infrastructure, in regions where government policy allows the market to operate freely.”
Powering ahead on renewables
The collaboration between AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, DSM, Google and Royal Philips to directly contract wind farm developers for their renewable electricity needs is the first of its kind in the Netherlands. By partnering through a consortium, the companies supported the construction of two large scale wind farms with a capacity equal to powering approximately 140,000 households.
“We brought together a group of companies that is united in its sustainability leadership,” Marcel Galjee, Energy Director, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals said on behalf of the consortium. “We believe it is of utmost importance to join forces and come up with innovative partnerships to achieve the sustainability goals of our companies as well as those set out in the Paris climate agreement.”
Harry Coorens, VP Procurement Sustainability, Royal DSM, added, “I receive questions from all over the world to explain this success story. It is a prime example to show an industry drive and collaboration that supports a mutual goal; creating a cleaner environment for people today and generations to come.”
Reasons to act
A survey of RE100 members in 2017 revealed that management of greenhouse gas emissions and CSR concerns ranked as the top drivers for companies to set 100% renewable electricity goals, considered as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ by 99% and 97% of respondents, respectively.
However, the economics of renewable energy came a close third, cited as ‘very important’ or ‘important’ by 88% of responding members. Improving market value and generating wider reputational benefits are also important considerations.
“As a purpose-driven health technology, a healthy planet is central to our mission”, explained Simon Braaksma, Senior Director of Group Sustainability, Royal Philips. “We are making good progress to decouple economic growth from our environmental impact.”
Google reached 100% renewable electricity towards the end of 2017, and is now using its global voice and weight as a large energy user to help green the grid and accelerate market change. “As a company, we are continuing to push innovation for corporate renewable energy procurement,” said Marc Oman, EU Energy lead, Google Global Infrastructure.
The rise of PPAs
For Royal Philips, the two wind farms together will power 100% of their business operations in the Netherlands. Akzonobel Specialty Chemicals, which already sources 45% renewable electricity, will use the supply to produce chlorine, caustic soda and “green hydrogen” at its site in Rotterdam.
A recent RE100 Progress and Insights Report revealed a rapid increase in the use of PPAs by RE100 members between 2015 and 2016, with procurement growing fourfold from 3% to 13%. According to 2016 data, BT, Equnix, Microsoft, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Walmart source the highest share of their renewable electricity consumption through PPAs.
In 2016-17 the greatest increase in PPAs by RE100 members were in regions where legislative frameworks are most favorable, including the US, Mexico, UK, Ireland and the Netherlands – where the Consortium is based.