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  • Envision leads the way for Chinese companies switching to renewable power

    Envision – an energy technology manufacturer and leader headquartered in China – has joined the global RE100 initiative, setting the most ambitious and earliest 100% renewable target out of member companies from Mainland China.

    Led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, RE100 now brings together more than 190 major companies from around the world committed to 100% renewable electricity. Many of these have operations and supply chains in China.

    Envision is targeting 100% renewable electricity by as soon as 2025, through technologies including wind turbines and solar PV coupled with smart energy management. The plan includes supplying renewable electricity to its battery factories located in Japan, the US, and the UK.

    Underlining the business case for switching to renewables globally, the company expects to save hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year by 2025– in turn saving tens of millions of US dollars on its electricity bills.

    "The mission of Envision is to solve the challenges for a sustainable future for human beings,” said Zhang Lei, CEO of Envision. He called on other Chinese companies to “join RE100.”

    Yuming Hui, China Director, The Climate Group, welcomed Envision to RE100: “It’s a great step forward for Envision to lead by example. We hope it inspires thousands more Chinese companies to take action in their own operations – from buying certificates to installing solar PV and wind turbines, there are solutions available now.”

    Winds of change

    Companies in the commercial and industrial sector account for approximately two thirds of the world’s end-of-use of electricity. Switching this demand to renewables is transforming the global energy market and accelerating the transition to a clean economy.

    While China is a leader in utility scale renewable electricity deployment, to date, renewable energy supply has been less readily available to companies in China. But the market is starting to shift – hastened by growing demand from international business.

    In order to help break down the barriers Chinese companies face in switching to renewable energy, Envision will actively participate in local renewable electricity trading pilots, and work with the industry to promote China's establishment of a renewable electric trading market that is in line with international standards.

    In 2017 The Climate Group became a founding member of the Green Electricity Consumption Cooperative Organisation (GECCO), to help increase corporate uptake of renewable power in China.

    There is a recurring need to help suppliers resolve regulatory ambiguity on local or provincial approval for renewable energy projects in China. To find out how other RE100 members are helping on the ground, read our Going Beyond’ report.

  • US-based Fifth Third Bank makes history by powering up 100% renewable solar facility

    Fifth Third Bank's Aulander Holloman Solar Facility in North Carolina is officially declared open – with 80 megawatts (MW) of capacity, it is one of the largest solar projects in the US.

    It is the first time a member of the RE100 initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, has met its entire electricity need from solar power.

    Built by solar developer SunEnergy1, the facility is expected to generate clean power that is more than or equal to the amount Fifth Third uses in a year, enough to eliminate 143,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. 

    It means Fifth Third has reached its 100% renewable electricity goal three years ahead of its 2022 goal.

    “Fifth Third is making history”

    “Fifth Third was the first member company to contract for 100% solar power and is demonstrating that renewables make business sense,” said Amy Davidsen, North America Executive Direct, The Climate Group.

    “By adding clean power to America’s electricity grid, they’re accelerating a cleaner future for us all – and leading the way for other companies to follow suit.”

    Fifth Third’s power purchase agreement (PPA) facilitated the construction of the solar field by guaranteeing a fixed price for the electricity it generates, thereby enabling SunEnergy1 to secure funding and begin construction.

    The electricity generated by the facility will be resold at market rates into the local electricity grid, and Fifth Third will retire the renewable energy certificates (RECs) from the project.

    Banking on solar

    The solar setup includes more than 350,000 solar panels generating approximately  202,000 MWh of electricity per year.

    Greg D. Carmichael, Chairman, President & CEO, Fifth Third, said: “This is another example of our commitment to improving lives and doing what’s best for our communities and planet – today and into the future. 

    “This project enables us to contribute positively to the economy of one of our key market states in a way that strengthens Fifth Third Bank’s performance and reaffirms for our stakeholders that we ‘do well by doing good.’.”

    The US$200,000 project employed 1,000 construction workers and added tens of millions of US dollars  to the local tax base.

    The last RE100 Progress and Insights Annual Report showed that PPAs are an increasingly popular way for member companies to source renewable electricity, with the total amount in 2017 reaching just under 9 TWh – almost double the amount reported for 2016. In 2017, PPAs accounted for 20% of all renewable electricity purchased by members in the US.

    To find out more about RE100 members, click here.