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  • Blog: How to make credible renewable electricity usage claims - and why it matters

    As the RE100 Technical Advisory Group issues best practice guidance for corporates making claims over their use of renewable electricity, Roberto Zanchi, Technical Manager for renewable energy at CDP, which partners with The Climate Group on RE100, blogs on the importance of being credible.

    Companies join RE100 with a commitment to 100% renewable electricity, an ambitious goal that earns due admiration among their peers and attention in the press. Being a public commitment, the RE100 goal is also a promise to a company’s own employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders. For these reasons, what businesses say through a visible platform like RE100 – and how – matters.

    Our members look to RE100 for guidance on what they can and can’t say publicly around their use of renewable electricity. What does it mean for a company to use renewable electricity? How can the 100% goal be achieved? As Technical Manager for renewable energy at CDP,  I know these are fundamental questions that businesses grapple with.

     

    Technical Advisory Group

    The RE100 Technical Advisory Group is a team of renewable energy experts from the Americas, Europe and India helping RE100 to set out criteria and best practice for corporates in the campaign. The Group enables our members to discover new options for making real progress toward their global 100% goals, and helps RE100 to earn its own credibility.

    Since 2014, the Technical Advisory Group has produced guidance on corporate renewable electricity options, participated in many of our knowledge exchange webinars, and connected us to projects and events run by their organizations.

    Now, a new briefing authored by three Technical Advisory Group members – Jared Braslawsky (RECS International), Todd Jones (Center for Resource Solutions) and Mary Sotos (World Resources Institute) – is a ‘must read’ for the major corporates in the campaign as well as those who want to understand more about emerging best practice on this topic.

    Making credible renewable electricity usage claims, or ‘Credible Claims’ for short, is a technical deep-dive into corporate transparency and credibility and has been one year in the making, in consultation with our companies and stakeholders in the industry.

     

    Credible RE claims and why they matter

    For me, there are three important takeaways from this document. First, it helps us understand the notion of corporate renewable electricity usage. Second, it sets out clear criteria for companies and their power providers to follow. Third, it can help drive adoption of best practice and even the development of emerging RE markets.

    Let me elaborate.

     

    Using renewable electricity

    When a company uses renewable electricity, it might make a claim like:

    Our company consumes renewable electricity.

    Our company uses wind energy to make this product.

    We procure renewable electricity for all our operations.

    But what does it really mean for a corporation to use renewable electricity?

    Credible Claims incorporates previous guidance provided by the Technical Advisory Group, and helps companies to understand that the use of renewable electricity is a different claim to “zero GHG emissions” for electricity. Credible Claims emphasizes the importance of making this distinction for both companies’ internal target setting and communication to the public.

     

    Criteria for making credible claims

    The second feat of Credible Claims is it sets out criteria useful to companies seeking to align with best practice. When making claims to the use of renewable electricity, businesses should ask themselves and their suppliers the following questions:

    “Are our claims based on credible renewable electricity generation data?”

    "What qualities of renewable generation are our claims based on?”

    “Does our company have exclusive rights to these attributes?”

    “Is there risk of another agent in the system claiming the same as their own?”

    “When was the power produced and when was it consumed?”

    “What market or geographic limitations should there be on our claims?”

    Credible Claims is a first step toward giving companies a framework to support their decision-making when it comes to purchasing more renewable electricity. For example, it guides information collection and the verification of those purchases, and the communication of related claims.

    Companies can also use the criteria to engage renewable electricity suppliers. Ideally, this effort will favor suppliers who are more transparent and offer products that more closely meet corporate customer needs.

     

    Developing a global RE market

    Trust is essential to a well-functioning marketplace and credible information can help build trust. By putting the recommendations of Credible Claims into practice, and asking for more transparency and credibility of themselves and their electricity suppliers, corporates can promote trust in markets for renewable electricity around the world.

    RE100 is not oblivious to the differences between countries and renewable energy markets around the world. In this varied and fast-evolving landscape, there are markets where corporate purchase of renewable electricity is well established, markets where the policies and systems that support claims are emerging, and places where none of this is yet possible at all.

    In renewable energy markets like the US and Europe, making credible claims means pursuing attainable best practice. Credible Claims advises that companies use attribute certificates to prove exclusive consumption (Renewable Energy Certificates in the US and Guarantees of Origin in Europe), seek independent third-party verification, and report on their consumption transparently – such as annual reporting to CDP, which RE100 draws on for its Annual Report.

    In some of the emerging renewable energy markets around the world, the value of credible claims is in directing corporate demand toward initiatives that need large purchasers and investors to help establish new market options. The existence of a supporting policy environment is often a necessary condition.

    One emerging market where corporate demand can drive impact is Taiwan, where RE100 Technical Advisory Group collaborators are spearheading new initiatives with help from RE100 companies. Last month, the Center for Resource Solutions announced financial support from Google to launch renewable certification programs in Asia, starting with Taiwan. In addition, the International REC Standard has been working with stakeholders to allow for the issuance of tracking certificates in the country since 2015.

    So whether it’s helping companies improve their own understanding of renewable electricity usage, apply credibility and transparency criteria to their own reporting and purchasing, or getting actively involved in growing the market for the benefit of all companies, Credible Claims can pave the way to more information, trust and accountability.

    As this movement grows, I hope to see the impact of RE100 and its partners help to unlock new markets.

  • RE100 cements partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center

    RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, is working together with the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center (BRC) to accelerate the procurement of renewable energy by some of the world’s most influential companies. The partnership aims to increase renewable demand (buyers), find renewable opportunities (developers and intermediaries), and provide the means to bridge the two through tools and knowledge.

    58 major businesses including Google and Walmart have now set 100% renewables targets through RE100, working together to increase demand for renewable energy and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. This, coupled with the BRC’s transactional expertise in supporting corporations signing large wind and solar deals and thereby adding more renewable energy to the grid, means the partnership has the potential to rocket boost corporate renewables use globally.

    “The overall goal of both RE100 and the BRC is increasing the penetration of renewable energy,” says RMI Managing Director Hervé Touati. “A very small number of corporations led the way to show it is possible to have a determining role to increase the number of megawatts of wind and solar. It’s important that their learnings are shared.”

    “We are seeing more and more companies making a commitment to 100% renewable power and joining RE100”, says Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director at The Climate Group. “By partnering with the BRC, we can ensure they are getting expert advice to help them deliver on those goals. By working together we hope to accelerate learning and speed up the growth of new renewable energy projects."

    Growing demand

    Corporate renewable energy use is growing. RE100 companies are on average halfway to being entirely powered by renewable electricity. However, many other companies that have set targets for procuring renewable energy have yet to act at a big enough scale.

    “In 2012, there were 200 megawatts of corporate renewable energy added, in 2013, 500 megawatts, in 2014, 1,200 megawatts, and for 2015 we’re talking about 3,200 megawatts, so this train is going really fast,” says Hervé Touati. “The complication is that only 28 companies have contributed to this out of five hundred Fortune 500 companies.”

    Around 43% of the Fortune 500 companies have sustainability targets, as do myriad other large corporations. Together, RE100 and the BRC aim to make those targets concrete and realizable.

    “We’re not trying to convince companies to suddenly be green”, says Hervé Touati. “We’re trying to help companies that are trying to be green and support them to reach their goals, whatever those might be – including the 100% renewable power goals set through RE100."

    Knowledge sharing

    RE100 and BRC are running a series of joint webinars for RE100 and BRC members, to enable the sharing of experiences and knowledge between major corporates. Previous topics have included power purchase agreements (PPAs) and China’s renewable energy market and policies. More recently, Bloomberg New Energy Finance provided insights on the global market.

    Lily Donge, a principal at RMI and leader of the BRC, says, “The combination of RE100’s ability to secure and showcase commitments and the support and expertise from the BRC will help corporations drive the penetration of renewable energy as never before. By partnering, our collective reach is wider globally and deeper technically.”

    “Each week we are seeing more and more corporations stepping up and taking real action to decarbonize our economy, not just because it is so important for our planet, but also because it makes good business sense to choose low-carbon strategies”, adds Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute. “I am excited to see the partnership of RE100 and the BRC. Together we will help corporations shift their energy to low carbon.”

    His words were echoed by those of Mark Kenber, CEO at The Climate Group, “The Paris Agreement is giving businesses the confidence to go further and faster when it comes to low carbon investment. We’re excited to be working in collaboration with the BRC to help RE100 members meet their goals.”

  • 100% renewable power is a credible and feasible corporate goal – RE100 companies

    100% renewable power is a credible and feasible global commitment for world leading businesses, and RE100 is the initiative to achieve it through – said RE100 companies speaking at the Clean Energy Summit in London this week.

    Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainability at IKEA UK & IE said it was actually a lot easier to target 100 percent renewable electricity than 80 or 90 percent – "otherwise there would be endless internal meetings about who was going renewable and who wasn’t”.

    And Joe Franses, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises, said only a 100% goal could galvanize interest within the business and engage those concerned with security of supply – “a lower target wouldn’t have brought the right people to the table.”

    The companies were speaking as part of panels moderated by Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, and Emily Farnworth, RE100 Campaign Director at The Climate Group, on the first day of the event. IKEA, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Marks and Spencer, and Nestlé shared their experiences of setting and working towards 100% renewable power goals as part of the RE100 campaign.

    A representative from Heineken also spoke of using renewables to help the company reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 (compared to a 2008 baseline).

    Key drivers for action

    Joe Franses, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises, said the company would never have committed to using 100% renewable power 5 or 6 years ago, but recognising that it could now buy renewable power at a competitive price, it joined RE100 in December.

    Joanna Yarrow said that IKEA, a founding partner of RE100, seized the opportunity to save money and insulate against price rises – energy costs being the second biggest cost after staff at the company. “We want to be a business that’s thriving and surviving in decades to come”, she said.

    Andrew Griffiths, Head of Sustainability at Nestlé UK & I, highlighted the threat of climate change impacts to the food and drink sector as a key driver to join RE100, alongside the chance to work in collaboration with other leading companies. He said increasing price certainty and lowering risk “gets the CFO excited”.

    And Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business (Plan A) at Marks & Spencer, said the company was sourcing renewable electricity at no extra cost – in fact it was seeing a return through the Feed-In Tariff – and for that reason it was easy to convince the CFO that 100% renewable power was realistic. The rest of the panel agreed that renewable power wasn’t costing them any extra.


    Making progress

    Marks & Spencer is almost entirely powered by renewable energy already – with 100% renewables in the UK. IKEA is already about 67% of the way there globally, and by the end of this year, Coca-Cola Enterprises expects to be on around 40% worldwide. Nestlé now sources 100% renewable electricity from the grid in the UK and Ireland, and will be announcing new investments in the coming weeks.

    Andrew Griffiths and Mike Barry both described the transition to 100% renewables as a three part process: reducing energy consumption by investing in efficiency, sourcing renewables for the electricity that is used, and working with others to increase demand for renewables around the world.

    Going the extra mile

    When Mark Kenber asked his panel if consumers expected business to act on energy, the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.

    Mike Barry said that customers put pressure on Marks & Spencer to act, and that in turn, the company puts pressure on the system. The company has invested more than $550,000 in community energy projects in the last year.

    “Our customers do care actually”, said Joanna Yarrow, referring to research last year showing that 80% want to live more sustainably, “and there’s more and more expectation that organizations will do their bit.” Earlier this week, IKEA announced it would start selling solar panels in its UK stores.  “We want to be the leaders in helping customers live more sustainably”, she said.

    Joanna Yarrow also acknowledged a public “toe-curling” in reaction to green claims in recent years, saying that a degree of corporate greenwashing had provoked cynicism. She said it highlighted the importance of leading companies “taking consumers on a journey, of being transparent, and co-creating solutions.”

    Mike Barry said the low carbon revolution was “disrupting” the way companies do business. Years ago “no news was good news” from companies, he said, then after that, it was all about building sustainability into the brand. Now, businesses are expected to go further and deliver “actual products and services that enhance consumers’ lives in a low carbon way” – otherwise they’ll get “washed away”.

    IKEA, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Marks & Spencer are also working with their suppliers, to encourage them to switch to renewable power too.

    “It’s about what you do in your own operations, the leadership you show in your supply chain, and the leadership you show with your customers”, said Mike Barry.

    Why RE100?

    Joe Franses said the energy landscape was a particularly complex one, that Coca-Cola Enterprises had found Scope 2 guidance and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol somewhat hard to navigate, and that it was difficult to keep up with changes in national energy policy in each of the countries in which the business operates. He said that guidance and advice, alongside “power in numbers”, was a key reason to join RE100.

    Andrew Griffiths said the campaign “brings visibility and understanding”.

    Mike Barry said that by working alongside other companies in RE100, Marks & Spencer could help change the bigger picture and achieve far more than it could do alone. He urged companies thinking about joining the campaign to know what they wanted to get out of it and to be an active participant. “It’s creating value for you”, he said.

    Joanna Yarrow highlighted opportunities to learn through the campaign. She said businesses should engage with each other so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. “58 companies makes for a pretty good endorsement”, she said. “This is not some wacko agenda!”

    Last summer The Climate Group interviewed Joanna Yarrow for Climate TV. Watch the interview here.   

  • RE100 companies voice support for low carbon economy as governments gather to sign Paris Agreement

    RE100 companies have been voicing their support for a low carbon economy, ahead of today’s all-important Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York.

    More than 160 countries have expressed their intention to sign the Paris Agreement, designed to keep global warming below 2 degrees and spur low carbon growth, offering new market opportunities worth US$13.5 trillion.

    Corporates played a crucial role in ensuring a successful outcome of the COP21 climate talks in December, by demonstrating the business case for low carbon action and pledging their support. By working towards 100% renewable power as part of RE100, they are demonstrating that words are being turned into action.

    Explaining what the Paris Agreement means to their business,

    Gene M. Murtagh, CEO at Kingspan Group Plc said: “The strong outcome of the Paris agreement signals the beginning of the long term path towards decarbonisation through a range of critical areas including energy efficiency and renewable energy generation. Working together we can achieve our collective goal of a clean global economy.”  

    Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA Group, one of the founding partners of RE100, said: “The Paris agreement represents a turning point for business. The certainty of ever stronger policies to reduce carbon emissions creates clarity for how we develop our products, services and operations for a low carbon future.”

    Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, said: “We were delighted to see world leaders agree a strong deal at COP21. Now business must step up and create a clear, ambitious pathway to a low carbon future.”

    Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman at Nestlé, said: “The ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ for 2030 and the binding Paris Agreement on climate change are landmark steps in matters of sustainable development, and have the potential and the imperative to make a real impact in the coming years. This is something we at Nestlé are pleased with and commit to actively contribute to.”

    Fiona Ball, Head of Responsible Business at Sky said: “We need to maintain momentum post COP21 in Paris and make sure actions come out of all the hard work that went into last year. We need to send strong messages to markets and governments, pushing for a competitive, secure and sustainable energy system.”

    Commenting on the business case for action,

    Ralph Hamers, CEO of ING, said: “Climate change is an unparalleled challenge for our world, and banks have a real responsibility to play a role in addressing it.”

    Curtis Ravenel, Global Head of Sustainable Business & Finance at Bloomberg, said: “Price competitiveness, innovative financing mechanisms and diversified supply mean corporations can scale our efforts on renewables in a way that makes a compelling business case. Combine that with societal benefits like contributing to cleaner, healthier communities, and you have a positive and tangible business response to the challenge of climate change."

    RE100 support was welcomed by Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, who said: “Businesses have a fundamental role to play in delivering a low carbon economy, and the Paris Agreement is giving them the confidence to go further and faster in their efforts.”

    Over the coming months, the RE100 campaign will be showcasing the progress companies are making towards their 100% renewable electricity goals, and shining a light on the best examples of business leadership.

  • Paris Agreement presents market opportunities for businesses – new analysis

    Clean energy investment opportunities worth trillions of U.S. dollars are up for grabs by the private sector, new analysis by We Mean Business shows.

    The ‘What Paris means for business’ briefing and ‘Z-card’ identify key policies coming out of the COP21 climate negotiations in December, and explains what businesses can expect as the economy undergoes a deep transformation, including: 

    • New and expanded market opportunities
    • Opportunities to align investment decisions to long-term policy certainty
    • Benefits from policy coherence across borders and into new markets
    • Increased investor confidence in managing climate risks

    The analysis comes ahead of the signing of the Paris Agreement by more than 150 countries later this week.

    Major economies are committing to restructuring their energy systems. Collectively, national climate plans under the Paris Agreement represent at least a US$13.5 trillion market for the energy sector alone in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies through 2030. 

    Edward Cameron, Head of Policy for We Mean Business called the Paris Agreement “an unprecedented international agreement and a defining moment for the global market.” He said: “Trillions of dollars of market opportunity await businesses with the foresight to lead across their entire value chains.”

    Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group said: “Businesses have a fundamental role to play in delivering a low carbon economy, and the Paris Agreement is giving them the confidence to go further and faster in their efforts.”

    Business action

    Since the historic climate change agreement was reached in December, five major companies from a variety of sectors have joined RE100 to transition their global operations to 100% renewable power, taking the total number of committed world leading companies to 58, with dozens more in the pipeline.

    The first to join RE100 after COP21 was Tata Motors, India’s largest automobile manufacturer. During the financial year 2014-15 the company saved over 32,000 tons of CO2e, through investments in wind and solar power.

    Next was the financial software, data and media company Bloomberg, investing in wind and solar power and intending to dramatically increase the proportion of its electricity sourced from renewables to 100% by 2025.

    British media giant Sky also joined the campaign in recent weeks, setting a 2020 goal for using 100% renewable electricity. The company already buys 100% renewable electricity from the grid in the UK and Ireland.

    US-based ICT company, HP, joined with an interim target to source 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, partly through onsite solar power and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

    And the French banking group Crédit Agricole joined RE100 most recently, on track to go ‘100% renewable’ this year. The company renegotiated its contracts with EDF – a move expected to save at least 6,500 tonnes of CO2 per year and around €9 million over the next three years.

    Commenting on the business case for switching to renewable power, Michael Terrell, Head of Energy Policy at Google, said: “Companies are making big bets in clean energy to fight climate change and because it makes business sense. At Google, we have committed to purchase over 2 gigawatts of renewable energy and are the largest non-utility renewable energy purchaser in the world. We believe we can tackle climate change in a way that will spur innovation and growth and benefit us all.”

    Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, Ikea Group, said: “Everyone, including policymakers, business and civil society, needs to work together in delivering actions and solutions that facilitate a rapid transition to a low carbon economy. At IKEA, we are committed to do our part. We will continue to invest in renewable energy and to transform our business. By 2020, we will produce as much renewable energy as the energy we consume in our own operations.”


    Clean Power Plan

    In a further show of support for the Paris Climate Agreement, over 100 business giants have called for swift action on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan and investment in the low carbon economy at home and abroad.  

    The companies, including RE100 members Autodesk, Biogen, HP, IKEA, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, Mars, Nestlé, Nike, Philips, Salesforce, Starbucks and Unilever released a statement pledging to do their part to “realize [the Paris Climate Agreement’s] vision of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.” They also called on U.S. leaders for an investment in the low-carbon economy at home and abroad to give financial decision-makers clarity and to boost investors’ confidence worldwide.

    Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer, at Mars said: “We are hopeful that continued leadership and progress by the business community will encourage the U.S. to follow through on its COP21 commitment and to successfully implement the Clean Power Plan."

  • Crédit Agricole joins RE100 with goal to go '100% renewable' this year

    Crédit Agricole Group, is the latest big name to demonstrate climate leadership by joining RE100 and committing to 100% renewable power.

    Crédit Agricole Group, which offers a wide range of services including day-to-day banking, real estate and corporate and investment banking, intends to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by the end of 2016.

    At the end of 2015, the Group negotiated a new renewable electricity tariff from EDF to power its administrative facilities, data centers and branch offices for which it retained Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin – mainly hydropower.

    The move instantly allowed the Group to source 92% of its total electricity from renewables and will enable Crédit Agricole to reach 100% renewable electricity later this year. It is also expected to save at least 6,500 tonnes of CO2 per year and save around €9 million over the next three years.

    Stanislas Pottier, Head of Sustainable Development at Crédit Agricole S.A., said: “We recognize that we have a leading role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy. Switching to 100% renewable electricity and joining RE100 demonstrates our commitment to working alongside other world leading companies to achieve this common goal. By renegotiating our contracts with EDF, we expect to save thousands of tonnes of CO2 and millions of Euros – a win-win for the environment and our balance sheets.”

    The company’s leadership was praised by RE100 Campaign Director Emily Farnworth: “Crédit Agricole was already setting an example to the banking sector by sourcing the most part of its electricity through renewables – now it is going one step further. Today’s move demonstrates bold business leadership and will help to deliver a low carbon economy.”

    Crédit Agricole is the sixth banking group and the second French company to join RE100. There are now 58 companies in the campaign, including: Adobe, Alstria, Autodesk, Aviva, Biogen, Bloomberg L.P., BMW Group, BROAD Group, BT Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole Group, DSM, Elion Resources Group, Elopak, Formula E, Givaudan, Goldman Sachs, Google, H&M, HP Inc., IKEA Group, Infosys, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.(IFF), J. Safra Sarasin, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, KPN, La Poste, Land Securities, Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Inc., Nordea Bank AB, Novo Nordisk, Pearson PLC, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Proximus, RELX Group, Salesforce, SAP, SGS, Sky plc, Starbucks, Steelcase, Swiss Post, Swiss Re, Tata Motors Limited, UBS, Unilever, Vaisala, Voya Financial, Walmart and YOOX Group.

  • Newsletter: New joiners, knowledge sharing, and Business & Climate Summit

    USA

    Bloomberg and HP join RE100

    RE100 is delighted to welcome leading US media and technology companies Bloomberg L.P. and HP Inc. to the campaign. Bloomberg is committed to using 100% renewable electricity by 2025 and is pushing ahead with solar and wind power generation projects. To find out more, read our exclusive interview with Curtis Ravenel, Global Head of Sustainable Business and Finance.

    HP Inc. is committed to transitioning to 100% renewable power and has set an interim goal of sourcing 40% renewable electricity by 2020. The company plans to increase its energy efficiency, generate renewable energy on site, and use Power Purchase Agreements. Read all about it in our interview with Nate Hurst, HP’s Chief Sustainability & Social Impact Officer.


    Knowledge sharing

    Priya Barua, Associate II - Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Joe Dooley, State Policy Manager at Google were guest speakers on a RE100 webinar on March 10, focused on emerging trends in green tariffs in the U.S. market. Mr Dooley gave Google’s perspective on collaborating with Duke Energy to develop a green tariff for large energy buyers. Read Ms Barua’s guest blog on this topic.

    Chip Wood, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Orrin Cook, Senior Manager - Green-e Market Development at the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) were guest speakers on a second RE100 webinar on March 30, which looked at the use of Green-e Energy Standard for certifying renewable energy in the U.S. and Canada.


    EUROPE

    Sky joins RE100

    The media giant Sky plc has also joined RE100, with a goal to source 100% renewable electricity by 2020 where available. Sky is already obtaining renewable energy in the UK and Ireland via on-site generation or a renewable energy tariff. Now the company intends to take the same approach in Italy, Germany and Austria. Read all about it in our interview with Fiona Ball, Head of Responsible Business. 

    British Renewable Energy Awards

    We are proud to be nominating RE100 companies with operations in the U.K. for the British Renewable Energy Awards, organised by the Renewable Energy Association. Each company is being recognised in the Leadership category for “mainstreaming renewable energy through the scale of its investment and commitment to secure its energy needs from renewables.”


    Upcoming activities and key moments

    April webinars: RE100 will be hosting two webinars in April, looking at the Southeast Asia and U.S. energy markets. On April 12 Liam Salter, CEO of Reset Carbon will present on renewable energy (electricity and heat) options and policies in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. On April 20 RE100 and the Rocky Mountain Institute Business Renewables Center (RMI BRC) will host a joint webinar focusing on the U.S., with a guest speaker from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

    April 22: Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony, New York, U.S. - As part of We Mean Business, RE100 will be demonstrating that business is putting words into action following the success of the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris.

    April 26-28: Clean Energy Summit, London, U.K. - The Clean Energy Summit brings major energy users together with organisations that want to understand more about their renewable energy options to explore current opportunities in a decarbonising economy. RE100 will hold a breakout session, opened by Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, on Tuesday April 26 at 11:00-12:00hrs as part of the Corporate Energy Forum.

    May 5-6: Climate Action Summit, Washington D.C. - Following the success of COP21, this event will seek to deepen and expand climate action coalitions and provide a launch pad for climate implementation in the pre-2020 era.

    June 1-2: Clean Energy Ministerial, San Francisco, U.S. - This is an annual global forum to promote policies and share best practices to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. 23 participating countries and the European Commission will come together to assess progress and guide work, providing high level engagement opportunities between businesses and energy ministers. 

    June 28-29: Business & Climate Summit, London, U.K. - The Climate Group and core Summit partners will convene businesses and governments to agree a roadmap for reaching net zero emissions over the next half century, helping to ensure that the commitments made in Paris are translated into action. A RE100 side event will be held on June 29, 16:00-21:00hrs. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

  • HP joins RE100 with a global commitment to using 100% renewable electricity

    A global leader in printing and personal systems, HP Inc. has joined RE100 to transition to 100% renewable electricity, demonstrating its commitment to integrating sustainability into its core business strategy.

    Currently sourcing around 13% of its global electricity use from renewable sources, HP has set an interim goal of sourcing 40% renewables by 2020, with the aim of going ‘100% renewable’ in the future.

    “Joining RE100 represents a significant milestone for our company as we continue to move toward a business that is powered entirely by renewable electricity,” said Nate Hurst, HP’s Chief Sustainability & Social Impact Officer.

    “As we continue to reinvent a more sustainable business and society, both cost-effective and low carbon sources of energy are essential to the future and the growth of HP’s business. This commitment is guided by our belief in a world where technology and sustainability can combine to become a powerful force for innovation, helping reinvent how businesses, communities, and individuals can thrive.”

    HP’s approach to reaching 100% renewables will be threefold: aggressively reducing energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency; increasing the use of on-site renewable energy generation, and using Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to offset any fossil fuel emissions.

    In the US, Hewlett Packard Company signed a 12-year virtual PPA in 2015 for 112 MW of wind power to power its Texas data centers.

    The company will also focus on increasing capacity and developing opportunities for renewables in countries which currently have little or no feasible options. By joining other world-leading businesses in the RE100 campaign, HP is adding to rapidly growing business demand for renewable power – sending a crucial market signal that will give utility companies the confidence to supply.

    Amy Davidsen, Executive Director, North America at The Climate Group said: “We’ve worked closely with HP and the company’s dedication to building sustainability into the business is clear. We welcome HP’s leadership following the COP21 climate change negotiations and its commitment toward driving forward the clean revolution – benefiting both the environment and the economy."

    HP was one of the first technology companies to measure and publish its complete carbon footprint, and set carbon reduction goals across its entire value chain including its operations, products and supply chain. For more information on HP's journey to 100% renewables, read our exlusive interview with Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability & Social Impact Officer, or visit www.hp.com/sustainability.

    RE100 now includes 57 companies from a wide range of sectors and operations all over the world. Including: Adobe, Alstria, Autodesk, Aviva, Biogen, Bloomberg L.P., BMW Group, BROAD Group, BT Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Commerzbank, DSM, Elion Resources Group, Elopak, Formula E, Givaudan, Goldman Sachs, Google, H&M, HP Inc., IKEA Group, Infosys, International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.(IFF), J. Safra Sarasin, Johnson & Johnson, Kingspan, KPN, La Poste, Land Securities, Marks & Spencer, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft, Nestlé, Nike, Inc., Nordea Bank AB, Novo Nordisk, Pearson PLC, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Proximus, RELX Group, Salesforce, SAP, SGS, Sky plc, Starbucks, Steelcase, Swiss Post, Swiss Re, Tata Motors Limited, UBS, Unilever, Vaisala, Voya Financial, Walmart and YOOX Group.

  • Blog: The emergence of green tariffs in U.S. electricity markets – why now?

    Priya Barua, Associate II – Energy Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI), shares her thoughts on how green tariffs are providing energy solutions in the United States.

    Large companies are buying more renewable energy than ever before. The U.S. electricity market saw a record 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of corporate large-scale Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in 2014. Corporations smashed this record in 2015, signing nearly 3.5 GW of new deals by the end of the year.

    Companies from a broad range of industries – including high tech, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality – are driving this momentum as they seek cleaner, low cost energy that meets their ambitious sustainability goals and lowers exposure to long-term energy price fluctuations.

    As the price of renewable energy continues to fall, companies such as Google, Procter & Gamble, Owens Corning, Kaiser Permanente, and Starwood hotels are moving beyond the green power products of the last decade – which gave them access to renewable energy certificates (RECs) at additional cost – to new deal structures that allow them to access more of the benefits of utility-scale renewable energy projects, such as controlled costs and potential cost savings over the long-term.

    Currently, the vast majority of such deals are concentrated in a handful of states, like Texas, California, and Oklahoma, where there are competitive electricity markets. However, traditional utilities in regulated markets are becoming aware that they are missing out on a key opportunity if they don’t develop more attractive renewable energy options. Many companies will choose not to expand or invest in a certain service territory that does not offer the renewable energy options they want to power their operations.

    Win-win solution

    Green tariffs are one effective way for utilities in traditional, regulated markets to offer renewable energy services that are as attractive as other options available to buyers in more competitive markets.

    These green tariffs, also referred to as ‘riders’, allow eligible customers to buy both the energy and the RECs from a renewable energy project. These tariffs must first be approved by the state public utility commissions (PUCs). If implemented and designed appropriately, they have the potential to meet key customer needs as spelled out in the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, while protecting other ratepayers from price increases.

    Green tariffs offer companies with ambitious sustainability goals – including those committed to RE100 – a number of energy incentives, including lower overall transaction costs, price predictability and the potential for cost savings over a long-term contract agreement, greater flexibility, and the ability to point to a specific, usually local, renewable energy project as their power source.

    Green tariffs benefit utilities as well. Utilities that do offer these options enable their large energy customers to meet their corporate renewable energy goals, demonstrate more direct impact on the development of renewable energy, and reduce their long-term energy risks.

    Collaborating with a large, credit-worthy customer in a long-term contract benefits utility investment decisions, particularly in this era of rapid change in the electricity industry. Additionally, utilities and corporate buyers working together on more customized solutions opens the opportunity for greater system efficiencies and the potential to align interests to accelerate meeting compliance obligations.

    Investments underway

    By the fall of 2015, over 350 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy had been contracted between corporate customers and utilities under existing green tariffs. A partnership between Switch and NV Energy for example, has helped to shape Switch’s pathway towards 100% renewable power in Nevada.

    Meanwhile Google provided input into Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider in North Carolina, which has resulted a successful 61 MW solar deal for the IT giant, and enabled two other large energy customers to sign large-scale deals as well. Joe Dooley, State Policy Manager at Google shared the company’s experience on a recent RE100 webinar, Emerging trends in green tariffs in the U.S. market, on which I also highlighted successes and opportunities for RE100 companies across the country.

    Existing deals under green riders in Nevada and North Carolina, which range in size from 20 MW to 100 MW, are examples of the first generation of utility-offered green tariff products. Several other utilities, including Xcel Energy in both Minnesota and Colorado, are crafting new renewable energy products that offer even more of what customers are looking for.

    Xcel Energy’s proposed Renewable*Connect and Solar*Connect programs, which have been designed around the Buyers’ Principles, incorporate the potential for long-run cost savings. The fuel charge of the bill is replaced with the fixed charge of the renewable energy resource, together with flexible terms, no upfront costs, and safeguards to protect against other rate payer impacts. These types of advantageous solutions are likely to be replicated elsewhere.

    Collaboration is Key

    There are several studies, including the new report out today, that present various pathways for getting to 100% renewable energy in the U.S. Therefore, collaboration between utility and customer has never been more important. It is integral to developing the type of innovative solutions that can speed the transition to delivering more clean energy through the grid.

    Utilities and regulators in a number of states are now actively seeking inputs from large corporate customers to design new renewable energy products, and 2016 promises to be a year that brings many more innovative partnerships and solutions to the table.

  • 100% renewable energy in the U.S. is possible, affordable and needed – new report

    America can address its “largest environmental challenges by shifting to 100% renewable energy”, according to a new report by Environment America and Frontier Group.

    We Have the Power: 100% Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America shows that a complete transition to clean energy is both possible and essential in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and limit a global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    The report provides a scan of recent analyses, highlighting NREL data showing that America has the technical potential to meet its current electricity needs more than 100 times over with solar energy, and more than 10 times over with wind. 

    Image: Comparison of renewable energy technical potential and current consumption, source NREL. From the report 'We Have the Power: 100% Renewable Energy for a Clean, Thriving America', courtesy of Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.

    And there are multiple advantages to making the transition, the report shows. Not only are renewable energy methods safer than fossil fuels by eliminating the need for fracking and drilling; they are also good for the economy as they will create jobs and safeguard against the volatility of fossil fuel prices.


    Affordable energy

    The switch will also be affordable. In many parts of the U.S. wind power is now the cheapest source of electricity, after a 58% drop in prices between 2009 and 2014. Over the same time period the cost of solar PV fell by 78%; renewables are quickly becoming competitively priced

    New energy efficiency technologies are also getting cheaper, with the cost of LED lighting falling by a staggering 90% between 2008 and 2014. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy estimates the US can reduce overall energy use by 40-60% below current levels by mid-century, even as the economy continues to grow. 

    The report looks at seven detailed studies by academics, government agencies and nonprofit organisations that all show a transition to a clean energy system is achievable. Growth in renewables in the past 15 years – particularly solar – has been faster than the most optimistic forecasts made by Greenpeace, the IEA and the solar energy industry.

    Low carbon leadership  

    The report also shines the spotlight onto government leaders and calls for action in order to bring about the energy transition. It highlights key principles to be considered for U.S. energy policy such as prioritizing energy efficiency, promoting the swift deployment of renewables, ceasing construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and modernizing the electricity grid to provide reliable access to renewable energy.

    Amy Davidsen, Executive Director, North America at The Climate Group said: “There’s huge potential for renewables in the U.S. and new technologies have already achieved a great deal in bringing prices down – making them all the more attractive.

    “The U.S. corporates, cities, and states and regional governments that we work closely with are already leading the way, demonstrating that the switch to renewables creates opportunity for economic growth as well as cutting emissions and costs.”

    Bold corporate action

    RE100 companies Nike, Walmart, Starbucks and Johnson & Johnson are named in the report as leading US businesses that have pledged to transition to 100% renewable electricity. The RE100 campaign has a total of 18 U.S.-based businesses on board dedicated to increasing corporate demand for renewable power – and that number is growing all the time.

    Through a series of knowledge sharing webinars targeting corporates, RE100’s new partnership with the Business Renewables Center – founded by The Rocky Mountain Institute – aims to increase US demand for renewables (buyers), identify local renewables opportunities (sellers), and provide the means to join the two (tools and knowledge).

    U.S. companies joining RE100 are also encouraged to sign up to initiatives such as the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyer’s Principles, which, led by WWF and the World Resources Institute (WRI), is engaging with utility companies in the U.S. to increase local availability of renewable power for big energy users.

    Priya Barua, Associate II, Energy Program at WRI was recently a guest speaker on a RE100 webinar, on which she spoke about emerging green tariffs in U.S. regulated electricity markets – the subject of a recent WRI and WWF report. Joe Dooley, State Policy Manager at Google also provided the company’s experience of working with Duke Energy in North Carolina to develop a green tariff for large energy buyers. 

    The U.S. technology company HP Inc. has joined RE100 today and commited to 100% renewable electricity for all global operations. The company has an interim target of sourcing 40% renewables by 2020.