News

  • Blog: Innovation and business action drives the cost of renewable power to historic low

    World leaders from business and government have gathered in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum, with action on climate change high on the agenda. In this blog, Damian Ryan, Acting CEO, The Climate Group, looks at how leadership from the private sector is driving the clean energy transition.

    The unprecedented speed at which the Paris Agreement on climate change was ratified in November last year signified a global shift from negotiation to action and implementation. With 125 United Nations member states now committed to national climate targets, and that number increasing steadily, the role of business in implementing the clean energy transition that will underpin bold climate action is becoming ever more pronounced.

    679 businesses and investors, representing over US$20.7 trillion in assets under management, have now made commitments through the We Mean Business coalition. A prime example of this can be seen in the RE100 campaign, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, which now includes 87 of the world’s leading corporates committed to 100% renewable power.

    The newly published RE100 Annual Report 2017 demonstrates that we are on the edge of a global energy transformation, which will radically change how we produce and consume energy and end our use of fossil fuels. Launched to coincide with the climate and energy day at the World Economic Forum, the report also shows how campaign members are creating demand for 107 Terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable electricity annually, about the same as that used by The Netherlands.

    This week, we also welcomed three major European businesses to the RE100 campaign; Danske Bank GroupGatwick Airport Limited and Royal Philips, bringing the total number of companies to have made We Mean Business commitments to over 500.

    INVESTMENT AND COMMITMENT

    This investment from the business world is helping to drive clean technology innovation and uptake to the point where the cost of renewables has fallen dramatically, and is now ready to disrupt the monopoly of fossil fuel-based energy worldwide.

    As new research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows, wind and solar power, which accounted for approximately 90% of investments in renewable power in 2015, are now competitive with conventional sources of electricity, with costs plunging in recent years.

    Since 2009, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules has fallen by 80% and wind turbines by nearly a third, with solar now the cheapest form of new energy.

    The world record for unsubsidized power from solar is also now below $30 per megawatt hour (MWh). To put this into perspective, generation costs of most coal-fired power plants range between US$35 and US$60 per MWh, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    In 2015, half of the global investment in new energy went towards renewables, and in December last year, the winning bid for a proposed offshore wind farm development in the US provided the federal government with over double what it received for new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico earlier in 2016.

    Here in Davos, the focus on scaling up climate action and transitioning to ‘net-zero emission’ economies has been central to many debates and discussions, with the words of Al Gore, Former US Vice President, being particularly poignant: “We’re seeing continued, stunning declines in the cost of renewable energy, energy efficiency, batteries and energy storage — giving nations and communities around the world dramatic new opportunities to embrace a sustainable future based on a low carbon economy.”

    OVERWHELMING BUSINESS CASE

    In these turbulent times of shifting political landscapes, and with a new US Administration taking office on Friday, we’ve seen a refreshing reaffirmation of commitment to action on climate change in Davos.

    Discussions on climate action and energy have reiterated the overwhelming business case for implementing the Paris Agreement, raising the ambition of national climate targets, and transitioning to a ‘net-zero’ global economy.

    When we consider the strength of the business case for the clean energy transition, it is becoming clear that it is market rather than political forces that are increasingly driving momentum. But bad policies could still delay this inevitable transition and the enormous economic and health benefits it will bring.

    Smart business leaders know this, which is why the Low-carbon USA initiative that brings together more than 530 companies and 100 investors, is calling on the new US administration and Congress to accelerate a low carbon economy, and continue participation in the Paris Agreement.

    The company signatories, which include RE100 members NIKEHP Inc.IKEAJohnson & JohnsonMars, IncorporatedStarbucks, and Unilever, represent over US$1 trillion in annual revenue, and are headquartered across 44 states, employing about 1.8 million people. This represents a potent lobby for bold climate action.

    CLEANTECH BREAKTHROUGHS

    Investment and development of clean technologies is central to this progress. Breakthroughs in energy storage are enabling the integration of larger shares of renewable electricity, with off-grid renewables increasingly complementing grid-based options to expand access to clean energy.

    According to IRENA, battery storage for electricity could increase from around 1 GW today to 250 GW by 2030, with the market value of battery storage reaching US$2.2 billion in 2015 and expected to hit US$14 billion by 2020.

    With the first truly global climate agreement now up and running, and increasing numbers of leading businesses from around adopting renewable power, we are already on the journey to a better, cleaner future for all.

  • RE100 Annual Report: corporate sourcing of renewables holds key to net-zero emissions economy

    Corporate sourcing of renewable electricity can be a major driver of the transition to a robust, zero-emissions economy, according to this year's RE100 Annual Report, released today to coincide with the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

    RE100 is the global, collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

    The report highlights the speed of the corporate transition to cleaner energy. Many RE100 members have set an end goal for achieving 100% renewable electricity before 2024, and 11 members already achieved 100% renewable electricity prior to 2015 – sending a clear market signal to governments and investors around the world that growing demand for renewable energy must be met sooner rather than later.

    Based on the latest available electricity consumption data (2015) from RE100 members, other findings in today’s report show:

    • Member companies (87 and growing) are now creating demand for approximately 107 TWh of renewable power annually; around the same amount of electricity as consumed by The Netherlands;
    • Members making fastest progress towards their 100% renewable electricity targets include Goldman Sachs, which jumped from 14% renewable electricity in 2014 to 86% in 2015; Elopak, which went from 18% to 86% renewable during the same year; and H&M, which went from 27% to 78%;
    • Around half of the electricity being consumed by members reporting electricity use in the U.S. is from renewables, accounting for the highest amount of renewable electricity being sourced in any country worldwide (6.8 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases (RECs) being the most popular approach that year);
    • Almost all of electricity usage reported by members in Europe is from renewables (14.4 TWh in 2015, with an even split between unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases and green tariffs as the most popular approaches that year);
    • Nearly a quarter of the electricity usage reported by members in China is from renewables (0.4 TWh in 2015, with unbundled renewable energy attribute certificate purchases being the most popular approach that year);
    • Around a tenth of RE100 electricity use being reported in India is from renewables (0.1 TWh in 2015, with Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) being the most popular approach that year, followed by on-site generation);
    • Of the 34 RE100 members reporting the use of self-generation on-site at their facilities, wind and solar PV were by far the most popular technologies.

    The report also shows that, within the membership, Telecommunication Services is the closest sector to reaching 100% renewable electricity (97% in 2015).

    Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group said: “It is really encouraging to see that more companies than ever are committing to bold climate action, helping us move towards a net zero-emissions economy. But we need to see faster progress. In order to deliver on the Paris Agreement and keep global warming well below two degrees, we need governments to remove policy barriers and create investment incentives that can provide easier access to renewable energy. And we need more business leaders to influence the usage of renewable power right along their supply chains.”

    Speaking from Davos, Paul Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, CDP said: “From the US to China, the global energy landscape is transforming before our eyes. The RE100 report shows this change is in no small part thanks to an increasing number of corporations demanding renewable energy. This powerful market signal should embolden investors to shift capital and spur policy makers to ensure an enabling environment to meet the growing appetite for renewable power.”

    New RE100 members announced today

    Also today, coinciding with the 2017 RE100 Annual Report launch, three major European businesses have joined the campaign; Danske Bank GroupGatwick Airport Limited and Royal Philips, with a commitment to 100% renewable electricity across their global operations.

    Danske Bank Group is a Nordic universal bank, headquartered in Copenhagen and listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen. The bank reached 100% renewable electricity in 2015 by purchasing unbundled renewable energy attribute certificates equivalent to its entire electricity consumption. Gatwick Airport Limited in the UK took a similar approach to become 100% renewable in 2013, and now has a further target to increase its share of direct purchasing by 2020. Leading Dutch health technology company Royal Philips has a goal of reaching 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Philips is currently working with four other international companies to sign long-term PPAs in the countries in which they all operate.

    Frans van Houten, President and Chief Executive Officer at Royal Philips, who is co-chairing the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, said: “We are the first generation that can really feel the impact of climate change and we believe we are the last generation that can do something about it.”

    RE100 members recognise the value of transitioning to renewable electricity; from greater control over energy costs and financial savings, to delivery on sustainability goals and enhanced reputations.

    General Motors has reported savings of US$5 million annually from using renewable energy, with this figure likely to increase significantly with prospective projects coming online and the supply of renewable energy increasing.

    Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, the first U.S. company to have joined RE100, said: “The rapid expansion of membership in RE100 is a great indicator of the momentum behind renewable electricity. The business case is now evident and we expect continued acceleration of corporate engagement.”

    Click here for the full report.

  • Newsletter: reflecting on success, and plans for the year ahead

    GLOBAL NEWS

    Google to go 100% renewable next year

    Congratulations to Google - the internet giant has announced that in 2017 it will reach its RE100 goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity. On joining RE100 during COP21, Google had set an interim goal to triple its renewable energy purchasing by 2025. Now, it is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments totalling 2.6 GWh of wind and solar energy. In a blog, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure at Google said: “Having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.” RE100 worked with Google around its announcement and saw coverage in Bloomberg Markets, Guardian Sustainable Business, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and on the World Economic Forum website.


    EUROPE

    RE100 inspires councils to source 100% clean energy

    RE100 was championed by UK Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd at a unique event in London, that brought together a prestigious group of leading UK businesses, cities and local authorities all signed up to 100% clean energy. RE100 partnered with Here Now and Maitland Green to show the Minister that business and local authorities are committed to clean energy and are looking for support from national government.

    Investor support for RE100

    ShareAction, a responsible investment charity, coordinates an RE100 investor group that helps to persuade more publicly listed companies to commit to 100% renewable electricity. So far, five companies have joined RE100 following investor engagement and AGM activism co-ordinated by ShareAction - with with questions facilitated at 14 company AGMs during 2016. Find more information on ShareAction's work to support RE100 here.


    INDIA

    RE100 extends corporate engagement in India

    For the first time since RE100 began outreach in India last year, we have connected with corporates in Bengaluru; the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state and the hub of India’s high-tech industry. Speakers from The Climate Group and CDP presented RE100 at a steering committee meeting of the Green Power Market Development Group, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the World Resources Institute. Anurag Priyadarshi, Global Sustainability Manager at Tata Global Beverages said there was much excitement at the company over the potential for renewable energy, right along its supply chain.


    CHINA 

    Novo Nordisk harnessing wind power in China

    Working towards its goal of being 100% renewable globally by 2020, leading healthcare company Novo Nordisk has shared its success over transferring its production site in Tianjin, China from coal to wind power. The Taibus Banner Wind Project consists of 33 turbines, which deliver 200 GWh of electricity to the North China power grid annually, saving 30,000 tonnes of CO2 in 2016. Read the full update here.


    DATES FOR YOU DIARIES

    RESCHEDULED: January 13, 2017: RE100 peer exchange webinar - Tata Motors' renewable energy journey - Tata Motors Limited's Sustainability Lead, Abhay Pathak, will share its experiences of adapting its business model to incorporate more renewable energy in its electricity mix, as well as sourcing renewable energy via open access, onsite installations, and third party procurement. The automobile company will also share the challenges it is experiencing, for example regulatory bottlenecks. Invitations to follow to members.

    January 14-15, 2017: IRENA General Assembly, Abu Dhabi, UAE / Launch of RE100 Annual Report - There will be a session dedicated to corporate sourcing of renewables at the IRENA General Assembly on January 14. Unilever is confirmed to speak and share experiences of working to 100% renewable power as part of RE100. We intend to launch the RE100 Annual Report on this day. This year the report will take a closer look at regional trends and the strategies that companies are using to journey to 100% renewable power.

    January 2017 (date TBC): RE100-Business Renewables Center - PPA focus. Invitations to follow to members.

    February 2, 2017: ‘Powering a cleaner future: Unlocking business demand for renewables in Europe’, Brussels, Belgium -  In the context of the development of the new EU Renewable Energy Directive and Market Design Initiative, this event - co-hosted by RE100 and Google - will highlight to policymakers and other stakeholders the high level of corporate demand for renewable power in Europe, and discuss the framework conditions required by businesses to fulfil their renewable energy ambitions. This event follows on from our recently published RE100 report which calls for key changes to EU energy policy. European Commissioner Vice President Sefcovic will attend and there are confirmed speakers from Google and Swiss Re. Save the date invitations have been sent. Please contact Sandra Roling with any questions -SRoling@theclimategroup.org

    February 2017 (date TBC): RE100 markets and policy webinar, with a guest speaker from WRI (tbc) - This webinar will focus on the relationship between regulatory requirements like RPS’s, national targets, emissions caps and voluntary renewable energy purchases in the US. Invitations to follow to members.

    March 21-22, 2017: RECs Market Meeting 2007, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - All RE100 members are invited to attend next year’s RECS Market Meeting, focusing on the demand-side of the electricity market. The event will look at the EU Renewable Energy Directive, U.S. PPA growth, tracking mechanisms, and market changes in India, the UAE and Brazil. The event is expected to draw 300 leading European renewable procurement experts. Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group, will be speaking on behalf of RE100. Register here.

    March 2017 (date TBC): RE100 technical support webinar - credible claims - This will be another chance to join our webinar on making credible claims, after the launch of a report by the RE100 Technical Advisory Group in May this year. The webinar will be aimed at companies that have joined the campaign in the last six months.


    AND FINALLY

    We hope you enjoy the festive season! We’re looking forward to an exciting new year.

  • Google set to reach 100% renewable electricity

    Google has announced that it will reach its 100% renewable electricity goal in 2017.

    During the COP21 climate negotiations last year, Google joined RE100 – an ever-expanding group of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP.

    Google had an interim goal to triple its renewable energy purchasing by 2025. But the internet giant is going to reach 100% renewable power sooner than expected.

    Today, Google is the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments totalling 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy. The company will meet the 100% milestone through a combination of direct purchases from renewable developers and through partnerships with utility providers.

    Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group, welcomed the news: “Our sincere congratulations to Google on reaching this fantastic milestone earlier than expected – it shows companies everywhere that a complete transition to renewable power is both possible and makes business sense.”

    In a blog, Google’s Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure, Urs Hölzle highlighted the business case for corporates to switch to renewables: “Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80%, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option.

    He continued: “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.”

    Also today, Google has published a white paper setting out its longer-term ambition to help green the entire electricity grid with clean, zero-carbon energy. Its plans include promoting policies that empower energy consumers to choose their energy supply.

    “The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority”, wrote Urs Hölzle in his blog. “We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity”…“Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone – not just Google – has access to clean energy.”

    Damian Ryan responded: “Google has already been a driving force within RE100 and we’re delighted that the company wants to go further and use its influence to help decarbonize the grid. Google’s continued leadership will help many more businesses to reach their own goals for 100% renewable power.”

    Google was one of several companies to back a recent RE100 report calling on EU policy makers to put renewables center-stage.

  • Blog: Google is set to reach 100% renewable electricity - and it's just the beginning

    Google joined RE100 at COP21 with an interim target of tripling its renewable energy purchasing by 2025. One year on, the internet giant has announced that in 2017 it will reach its goal of sourcing 100% renewable electricity to power its global operations. Here, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infastructure blogs on the company’s enormous achievement – and its plans to go even further in future.

    Every year people search on Google trillions of times; every minute people upload more than 400 hours of YouTube videos. All of that takes an incredible amount of processing power — which means energy. Our engineers have spent years perfecting Google's data centers, making them 50% more energy efficient than the industry average. But we still need a lot of energy to power the products and services that our users depend on. We began purchasing renewable energy to reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change — but it also makes business sense.

    I’m thrilled to announce that in 2017 Google will reach 100% renewable energy for our global operations — including both our data centers and offices. We were one of the first corporations to create large-scale, long-term contracts to buy renewable energy directly; we signed our first agreement to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future.

    To reach this goal we’ll be directly buying enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally. And we're focusing on creating new energy from renewable sources, so we only buy from projects that are funded by our purchases.

    Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80%, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option. Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.

    Our 20 renewable energy projects also help support communities, from Grady County, OK, to Rutherford County, NC, to the Atacama Region of Chile to municipalities in Sweden. To date, our purchasing commitments will result in infrastructure investments of more than $3.5 billion globally, about two-thirds of that in the United States. These projects also generate tens of millions of dollars per year in revenue to local property owners, and tens of millions more to local and national governments in tax revenue.

    So, we’re on track to match our global energy consumption on an annual basis by next year. But this is just the first step. As we look to the immediate future, we’ll continue to pursue these direct contracts as we grow, with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers and significant operations. Since the wind doesn’t blow 24 hours a day, we’ll also broaden our purchases to a variety of energy sources that can enable renewable power, every hour of every day. Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone — not just Google — has access to clean energy. For more on these next steps, read our white paper.

      

    Operating our business in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning, and we’re always working on new ideas to make sustainability a reality — like enabling the building of healthy workplaces and creating a living, breathing dashboard for the planet. We’ve reported our carbon footprint and published information on our sustainability programs for many years in white papers, blog posts, and on our website. Now, we’ve put all this information together in a new Environmental Report.

    You can also check out our new environment website, where we share stories of how we are finding new ways to do more while using less. Most of our on-campus sustainability initiatives were started by a few passionate Googlers, and have now grown into company-wide efforts. From the solar panels on our roofs to our bike-to-work program, these initiatives sit at the heart of our company culture and help both us and our users reduce our impact on the environment.

    The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority. We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity. And we have a responsibility to do so — to our users and the environment.

    We have lots of progress left to make, but these achievements we're announcing today feel like a breath of fresh air. Now, back to work.

    First published on the Google blog, here.

  • RE100 extends its corporate engagement in India

    For the first time since RE100 began outreach in India last year, RE100 has connected with corporates in Bengaluru; the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state and the hub of India’s high-tech industry.

    Global cloud services corporation Wipro Limited and leading multinational company Tata Global Beverages were among the attendees of the Green Power Market Development Group Steering Committee meeting; jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the World Resources Institute.

    Speakers included Rashi Gupta, India Partnership Manager, The Climate Group; Shailesh Telang, Senior Project Officer CDP India; S Chandrasekhar, Chairman, Energy & Power Sub-Committee CII Southern Region and Managing Director, Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited; and Nisha Jayaram, of CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre.

    Rashi Gupta shared the global success of the RE100 campaign, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. There are now 83 members of RE100, all committed to transitioning their electricity supplies to 100% renewable energy. Infosys was the first Indian company to join the initiative, followed by Tata Motors Limited and Dalmia Cement this year. Many more are expected to follow.

    Anurag Priyadarshi, Global Sustainability Manager at Tata Global Beverages said there was much excitement at the company over the potential for renewable energy, right along its supply chain.

    Corporates are however facing challenges in going 100% renewable in India, such as lengthy timescales for government approval on renewable energy projects, a lack of long-term policy stability, and practicalities around implementation. These challenges were discussed during a panel discussion between corporate energy buyers and developers.

    Rashi Gupta, India Partnership Manager at The Climate Group, said: “Leading companies realise that renewable energy benefits their reputations and that it can bring much-needed cost savings too. RE100 provides a platform for companies in India to showcase their ambition and progress, while sending a clear message to governments and investors that renewables are good for business.”

    Later this month Tata Motors will be guest speaking on a RE100 webinar designed to provide peer-to-peer learning for corporates wanting to source renewables in India. For more information on the opportunities in India’s changing market place, read our RE100 briefing.  

  • Gathering momentum: RE100 inspires UK cities and local authorities to work to 100% clean energy by 2050

    RE100 has been championed by UK Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd at a unique event in London that brought together a prestigious group of leading businesses, cities and local authorities all signed up to 100% clean energy.

    RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, working to shift the energy system away from fossil fuels and accelerate a low carbon economy. The continued growth and success of RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, inspired Here Now to form UK100 last year – an expanding club of 67 UK cities and local authorities signed up to 100% clean energy by 2050.

    The week after the UK government gave its Autumn Statement, the two initiatives partnered with Maitland Green over a roundtable event in Westminster, bringing together dozens of leaders from business and government and a range of wider stakeholders, to showcase momentum for 100% clean energy and demonstrate that collaboration is key.

    The Minister praised both RE100 and UK100 for bringing people together and pushing for further and faster climate action. Acknowledging turbulent times in global politics he said we need to see climate leadership now more than ever – and distributed leadership. He agreed to work with the city and council leaders as the UK government implements its industrial strategy, which has clean energy at its heart.

    In a keynote speech Nick Hurd said: “Cities and communities are important partners for the Government as we transition to a global low carbon economy. Together we can demonstrate that cutting emissions is compatible with economic growth as we build a diverse energy system fit for the 21st century.”

    During the event, the Minister also heard from a number of RE100 members already working to 100% renewable power.

    Caroline Hill, Head of Sustainability at Land Securities, which has installed one of the largest solar arrays on a shopping centre in Europe, said: “Land Securities has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity since April this year, and we’re now working closely with our retail and office customers, and other stakeholders, to increase the wider uptake of renewables. We welcome more collaborative working between the private and public sectors – for example, reviewing how excess capacity generated on private sites can feed into local heating districts. By working together we can accelerate the shift to a cleaner future.”

    Robert Williams, General Manager, Procurement – Utilities, Power & Cooling at BT Group, asked the Minister to reduce the complexity of electricity charges.

    Adam Elman, Head of Global Delivery:  Sustainability / Plan A at Marks & Spencer, highlighted the business case for renewable power.

    Abyd Karmali, Managing Director – Climate Finance at Bank of America underlined the need for supportive government policy.

    Damian Ryan, Acting CEO of The Climate Group said: “RE100 is driving corporate demand for renewables in the UK and around the world, and I’m thrilled to hear it is inspiring local authorities to sign up to go 100% renewable too. Scaling up demand for renewables is good for everyone. More demand means more supply and hence lower energy costs for businesses, councils and hard-working families. Going 100% renewable makes sense for communities and our economy alike.”

    Click here to learn more on how leading councils and businesses are progressing toward 100% clean energy. 

  • Newsletter: COP22, EU policy & our Annual Report

    ALL REGIONS

    Highlights from COP22

    There was plenty of RE100 activity at COP this year, as a number of members went to Marrakech.

    On Energy Day, November 11, India’s Dalmia Cement and Swiss insurer Helvetia joined RE100 with a commitment to 100% renewable power. The new additions take the total number of members to 83, and the total demand for renewable electricity being created to over 100 TWh.

    News of Dalmia Cement joining RE100 was covered by a number of media outlets in India, including The Economic Times and Business Standard. "We are committed to decarbonizing our operations in a way that makes business sense", said Group CEO Mahendra Singhi, who was also interviewed by Climate TV.

    Dalmia Cement is already a member of EP100 - RE100’s sibling corporate energy initiative. On Energy Day, RE100 founding partner Swiss Re also joined EP100, with the goal of doubling its energy productivity by 2020 (baseline 2005). Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO of SEforAll praised the leadership of both companies. The Climate Group’s Acting CEO Damian Ryan reflected on their decision to ‘use better energy, better’ in a Guardian Sustainable Business opinion piece facilitated by General Motors.

    RE100 worked closely with IRENA and the European Commission to secure speaking slots for our members at a number of key COP events - helping to demonstrate the strong business case for renewable power. Facebook’s Director of Sustainability Bill Weihl spoke on Business & Industry Day. Formula E’s CEO Alejandro Agag and Mars Incorporated’s Global Sustainability Director Kevin Rabinovitch spoke on Energy Day - Kevin announcing a new contract to power Mars’ Mexico operations with 100% renewable power, and highlighting the value of RE100. Dalmia Cement’s Group CEO Mahendra Singhi then spoke alongside Facebook’s Bill Weihl at the World Climate Summit on November 13th, and IKEA Group’s Public Affairs Manager Katarina Maaskant spoke on EU Energy Day, November 14th.

    During the second week of COP, Microsoft and General Motors also made announcements of new investments in renewable energy. Microsoft has made its largest wind energy purchase to date - 237 MW - allowing its data center in Cheyenne, Wyoming to be powered entirely by wind power. General Motors also made its largest renewable energy purchase to date, signing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for 50 MW of wind energy from a new wind farm being developed in Texas.

    RE100 was highlighted as a game-changing initiative in a new report by UN Global Compact on the business contribution to global climate action.

    RE100 also partnered on a major event coordinated by CAN International, which saw Chief Sustainability Officers Barry Parkin of Mars and Steve Howard of IKEA demonstrating that leading businesses are playing their part in a wider societal movement to 100% renewable energy worldwide.

    During the two weeks of COP22, RE100, our members and partners generated 18.4 million impressions of #RE100 on Twitter - creating a real buzz for the campaign. Thanks to everyone who helped by sharing and re-sharing our content, helping us to reach a much wider audience.


    EUROPE

    As the EU Commission prepares to release a review of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and Market Design Initiative, expected later this week, a new RE100 report backed by members BT Group, IKEA Group, Google, Nestlé, Royal DSM and Unilever calls for EU energy policy to prioritize renewables. The report was picked up by a number of media outlets including CleanTechnica and EurActiv.  Damian Ryan, Acting CEO at The Climate Group, which leads RE100 in partnership with CDP, said: “More companies than ever before are committed to bold climate action because it makes business sense. But to ensure that many more are able to reach 100% renewable power, governments at all levels need to set or raise the ambition of long-term supportive policies.”


    DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES

    November 29: Breakfast event with Nick Hurd, London, UK, 08:00 - 10.30hrs - Organised by Here Now together with RE100 and Maitland Green, this event with Nick Hurd, UK Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is designed to showcase and grow the UK’s network of local authorities committed to 100% clean energy - inspired by the success of RE100. Speakers from Marks & Spencer and Land Securities will share their own journeys towards 100% renewable power. Attendance is by invitation only.

    December 15, RE100 knowledge sharing webinars - Tata Motors’ renewable energy journey, 16:00hrs-17:00hrs IST (Indian participants) or 11:30-12:30hrs CET (International participants)- Tata Motors will share its experiences of adapting its business model to incorporate more renewable energy in its electricity mix, as well as sourcing renewable energy via open access, onsite installations, and third party procurement. The automobile company will also share the challenges it is experiencing, for example regulatory bottlenecks. Speakers TBC. 

    January 14-15, 2017: IRENA General Assembly, Abu Dhabi, UAE - There will be a session dedicated to corporate sourcing of renewables at the IRENA General Assembly, and a small number of speaker slots will be open to RE100 members. 

    January 16-19, 2017: Launch of RE100 Annual Report/ World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE - We are working on our 2017 RE100 Annual Report, to coincide with the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. This year we will be taking a closer look at regional trends and the strategies that companies are using to journey to 100% renewable power. 

    REVISED DATE: February 2, 2017: ‘Powering a cleaner future: Unlocking business demand for renewables in Europe’, Brussels, Belgium -  In the context of the development of the new EU Renewable Energy Directive and Market Design Initiative, this event - co-hosted by RE100 and Google - will highlight to policymakers and other stakeholders the high level of corporate demand for renewable power in Europe, and discuss the framework conditions required by businesses to fulfil their renewable energy ambitions. This event follows on from our recently published RE100 report which calls for key changes to EU energy policy. European Commissioner Vice President Sefcovic will attend. 

  • Blog: Swiss Re ramps up sustainable energy commitment

    Swiss Re was a founding partner of RE100 when it launched in 2014. At COP22, Swiss Re also became one of the first leading businesses to join EP100 - The Climate Group's other major corporate initiative. Here, Senior Environmental Management Specialist Lasse Wallquist blogs on the company's new dual approach.

    At COP22 The Climate Group, together with the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity, highlighted the important progress of its EP100  initiative on energy productivity. As a signatory, Swiss Re has pledged to double its energy productivity; "why?" you might ask. Well, because this is the basis for achieving carbon neutrality.

    As a founding partner of The Climate Group's RE100 initiative, we are already committed to becoming 100% powered by renewable electricity by 2020 - a lot of it coming from our own energy production. In 2003, we launched our Greenhouse Neutral Program and started to operate carbon neutrally. This commitment includes:

    1. building our operations as energy efficiently as possible;
    2. sourcing as much green power as possible; and
    3. buying carbon offsets for the remaining unavoidable CO2 emissions

    Staying true to the cause, in our own offices around the world we are vigorously tackling our own carbon footprint. Swiss Re Next at our headquarters in Zurich for example will consume 80% less energy per employee than our former building. We have also been installing smaller solar plants with capacities of 50-100kW on the rooftops of some of our officers in Switzerland, Italy and the UK. Just 3 weeks ago we started construction on our 2MW solar power plant at Swiss Re Americas headquarters in Armonk, New York. Ten acres of panels, ground-mounted on our property, will generate more than 60% of the campus' power requirements. 

    In the context of our extensive climate engagement, the Armonk Solar Project is an important milestone example of how we "walk the talk". It helps us to illustrate our concrete efforts for our customers, society and our employees. Given the latest political developments this is - to me personally - more important than ever. We have to constantly consider climate change risks in our business, and the need for risk-transfer solutions that help companies mitigate and adapt to climate change is growing.

    Together with RE100, and of course our products and our advocacy work, EP100 is helping us to contribute to the advancement of sustainable energy solutions.

  • Prioritize renewables in Europe to unlock consumer power - new report backed by leading businesses

    RE100 calls on EU policy makers to help companies go 100% renewable

    Priority access, ambitious targets, and transformational changes are needed from EU energy policy to help companies to meet their European electricity needs with renewables, shows a new report backed by leading businesses.

    The report comes as the EU Commission prepares to release a review of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and Market Design Initiative, expected late November. Earlier this week media reports said that a leak of the Winter Package showed it could subsidise fossil fuels and undermine renewable energy.

    The report is written by independent global think tank E3G on behalf of RE100; a global, collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power across their operations, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. RE100 members such as BT, IKEA Group, Google, Nestlé, Royal DSM and Unilever all contributed their experiences.

    It sets out policy measures that would give companies easier access to renewable power, providing greater control over energy costs and long-term business stability. It also argues that all EU member states must play their part in achieving the collective 27% by 2030 renewable energy target, and makes the case for continued priority dispatch for renewables and enforceable prosumer rights.

    There are 83 members of RE100 as of COP22, including global companies like Apple, BMW, and Starbucks. 43 of these have reported to CDP electricity use in one or more of 32 European countries – representing demand for over 18TWh of renewable electricity across the continent.

    Damian Ryan, Acting CEO at The Climate Group, said: “More companies than ever before are committed to bold climate action because it makes business sense. But to ensure that many more are able to reach 100% renewable power, governments at all levels need to set or raise the ambition of long-term supportive policies. The Climate Group wants to help to drive practical solutions that will unlock much-needed low carbon investment to deliver a prosperous, zero-emissions economy.”

    Simon Skillings, the report author and a Senior Associate at E3G, said: “Renewable energy is the future and if the European Union wants to retain its competitive edge it must unleash its potential before it’s too late. That means making it cheap and easy to procure renewable electricity to empower its energy consumers.”

    Rob Williams, Head of Energy Supply, BT, said: “Using renewable energy makes strong business sense and is a clear, simple and effective way for industry to take real action for a sustainable future. At BT we’re proud to be one of the original members of RE100, and believe business, governments and individuals should all do what they can. The Renewable Energy Directive is a key opportunity for the EU to make this business imperative a reality, with bigger scale and faster speed.”

    Michael Terrell, Head of Energy Policy and Markets, Google, said: "Google is one of the world’s leading technology companies with more than 9,000 employees in Europe.  Google’s commitment to sustainability is core to our business and we have a company-wide goal to power 100% of our operations from renewable energy. We believe the EU market has been important to the growth of renewable energy globally and we support the continuation of policy efforts that empower customers and drive even greater clean energy deployment in Europe."

    John Harris, Investment Manager – Renewable Energy, IKEA Group, said: “Whether companies purchase renewable electricity or want to generate renewable power themselves, we are all looking to EU policy to support us in reaching our target of 100% renewable power. Legislative frameworks are needed to allow more businesses, and consumers, to invest in renewables.”

    Ward Mosmuller, Director of EU Affairs at Royal DSM, said: “The new EU Renewable Energy Directive must ensure that wind and solar power are well-promoted, and that biomass is used sustainably to produce chemicals and advanced biofuels. Bio-based materials find applications in everyday products such as transport fuels, paints and packaging, but these markets are currently dominated by relatively cheap and less sustainable, fossil fuel-based materials. Sustainably sourced bio-based materials could make considerable contributions to the transition to a renewable low-carbon economy.”

    Thomas Lingard, Climate Advocacy & Sustainability Strategy Director, Unilever, said: “To scale the benefits of renewable energy we need both business action and policy evolution.  As more and more leading businesses actively look to source 100% renewable energy, we need a Renewable Energy Directive that supports, not holds back these ambitions.” 

    This is part of ongoing work by RE100 to help overcome the barriers to achieving 100% renewable power. The recommendations outlined in this report are intended to make a positive contribution to the ongoing policy development process.