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Corporate Sourcing for Renewables Campaign Demonstrates Momentum at Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial

Governments, companies, and international partners highlight progress and announce key deliverables to accelerate the clean energy transition through corporate sourcing

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Corporate Sourcing for Renewables Campaign Demonstrates Momentum at Eighth Clean Energy Ministerial

The Corporate Sourcing of Renewables campaign works toward getting more companies to commit to powering their operations with renewables and deploys tools and resources to enable more companies, large and small, to do so.

Today, key partners in the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM’s) Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign highlighted progress and announced major new efforts to help companies increase their use of renewable energy and help power a transition to a clean energy future. The campaign was featured during the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8) Public–Private Action Summit, held in Beijing and hosted by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology and National Energy Administration (NEA). Campaign announcements to attending global leaders included news that RE100 has grown by half over the past year, the release of new reports on enabling frameworks, and a new annual Corporate Sourcing conference. In addition, China announced it would co-lead the campaign, joining Denmark and Germany.

“I am proud that Denmark is leading the CEM’s ‘Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign’ together with Germany,” said Lars Christian Lilleholt, Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate of Denmark. “We welcome the new co-leadership of China, which can bring further momentum in the campaign. We are involved since it is crucial to deliver on the Paris Agreement. Many leading global companies have increasingly committed to the goal of utilizing one hundred percent clean energy. As a policy maker, I am committed to enabling those companies to power their operations with renewable energy and to highlighting best practices and supportive policies and resources. I look forward to conclude the campaign and bring final recommendations to fellow ministers at CEM9 in Copenhagen and Malmö in 2018, following another year of intense work.”

Thorsten Herdan, Germany’s Director General for Energy Policy with the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said, “We have seen continued wind and solar energy technology cost reductions in recent months, with record-low auction results from different regions of the world. In many areas, the business case for corporates to source renewables has further improved. With this campaign, we have initiated important work, supported by IRENA and further partners from civil society and business, to better understand and to improve the market and regulatory framework conditions for corporate sourcing.”

Li Fanrong, Deputy Director-General of China's National Energy Administration (NEA), said, “We are glad to co-lead the Corporate Sourcing of Renewables campaign together with Denmark and Germany. As China’s renewable generation capacity increases and costs decrease, more and more corporates in China are expressing strong will to purchase renewables. The upcoming voluntary trading of Renewable Energy Certificates, which will carry out in July, is an effective way to realize this will.”

Launched during the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7), the campaign is a global collaborative effort to enable more companies across multiple markets to power their operations with renewable energy, and send a crucial message to governments and to other companies about the growing demand for increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy. Other participating governments include the European Commission, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Contributing to the campaign are several major international partners: the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), RE100, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), Solar Power Europe, and Wind Europe.

“The remarkable set of commitments and actions we are seeing in the corporate sector on renewables clearly shows that the business case for renewable energy is stronger than ever,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “It also sends a powerful signal to markets to channel more investments into renewable power generation. These achievements are only the beginning of what corporate sourcing can truly contribute in accelerating the energy transition. As we move to scale this up even further, identifying and removing market barriers and sharing best practices is essential. By mapping out global efforts and potential for corporate sourcing in decarbonising the global energy mix, the REmade Index will do just that,” Mr. Amin added.

Corporate demand for renewable energy is increasing rapidly as more companies make commitments to using renewables as part of sustainability efforts as well as for energy security and price certainty. This demand is now becoming a critical driver towards decarbonizing power systems. Falling costs of renewable power have strengthened the business case for action, and 96 members of RE100 are already creating demand for 128 TWh of renewable electricity per year—about as much as it takes to power Argentina.

“Our industry can play a vital role in the energy transition,” said Marcel Galjee, Director of Energy at AkzoNobel, which recently joined a group of other multinational companies to jointly buy renewable electricity to power operations in The Netherlands. “As part of our sustainability approach, we are committed to ‘do more with less’. We successfully reduced our footprint in the United States and Europe and are working to develop an energy portfolio in China that emphasizes more renewables.”

CEM8 also featured a full-day event on Corporate Sourcing of Renewables, with representatives from global companies and governments sharing best practices and key lessons learned. The event also included an afternoon session focused specifically on the Chinese market and opportunities to increase corporate sourcing in China's emerging voluntary green certificate market. “New research by The Climate Group confirms that Chinese businesses strongly support market liberalization to enable them to buy low-cost and reliable renewable electricity via the grid,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of The Climate Group’s RE100 campaign. “China has already become a powerhouse for renewable energy investments. The right policy measures and business models will further drive innovation and bring down costs. The next step must be to increase transparency and knowledge-sharing around solutions—that’s where RE100 comes in.”

The CEM campaign builds off work by the CEM’s Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group, which aims to promote the accelerated deployment of solar and wind technologies.

Partner Organizations, Companies and Governments

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
As part of its efforts to boost renewable energy use by businesses around the world, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has today, at the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial, launched a global company survey questionnaire on the corporate sourcing of renewables.

IRENA’s initial work on corporate sourcing shows that that the drivers for corporate procurement are changing. With the business case for renewables firmly established, many companies in the non-energy sector are turning to renewable energy, not only out of corporate social responsibility but as a result of sound business decisions based on costs, profitability, and security of supply.

The information gathered will feed into IRENA’s forthcoming REmade Index, the first global reference index on voluntary corporate renewable energy purchasing. The Remade Index report—due out later this year—will recognise companies sourcing renewables, highlight latest trends, and provide recommendations to further boost corporate renewable energy use.

RE100
RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, as part of the We Mean Business coalition. Over the last year RE100 has grown by half. Its 96 members, which include global companies such as Royal Philips, Starbucks, and IKEA Group, are now collectively creating demand for around 128 TWh of renewable electricity annually—around the same amount of energy needed to power Argentina. This steady growth in membership is thanks to the falling cost of renewable energy and the compelling business case for action, with renewable power providing greater control over energy costs while helping to deliver on emissions reduction goals. Members are already making good progress; Google is set to meet its 100% renewables target in 2017, while Apple and H&M are going beyond their own operations and encouraging their suppliers to use renewables too. This is helping to grow the renewable energy market in countries such as China, sending a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to meet growing demand and accelerate the transition to a robust, low-carbon economy.

Google
In December 2016, Google made two major announcements: the company is on track to reach 100% renewable energy for global operations in 2017, and it has set a new long-term goal to power operations on a region-specific, 24-7 basis with clean, zero-carbon energy.

Reaching the 100% renewable goal in 2017 means that Google will buy, on an annual and global basis, megawatt-hours of renewable energy—both the physical energy and its corresponding RECs—equivalent to the megawatts of electricity the company consumes for data center and office operations around the world.

Google has pursued 100% renewable energy not only as part of its commitment to tackling climate change but also—and equally—because renewable energy makes good business sense and is an important driver of economic growth. The company’s 20 renewable purchase projects to date will generate $3.5 billion in new investment globally, supporting local communities in areas from Oklahoma to the Atacama Region of Chile to Sweden.

Several recently released publications provide more information about Google’s sourcing efforts:

  • A Google blog post by Senior Vice President Urs Hölzle details the 2016 announcements.
  • A Google Energy whitepaper describes how Google is achieving 100% renewables and lays out the company’s vision of going beyond 100% towards 24-7 clean energy.
  • A new environmental report provides information on the company’s overall environmental performance.

World Resources Institute (WRI)
An alliance of four non-profit organizations, the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) works with over 60 major companies to grow corporate demand for renewable power and help utilities and others meet it. REBA connects large businesses to renewable energy supply and collaborates with utilities to develop innovative products that grow renewable energy. REBA launched in 2016 and has a goal of adding 60 GW of additional renewable energy to the U.S. grid by 2025 and will expand efforts in Southeast Asia, India, China, and Latin America this year.

To expand REBA’s approach to key emerging markets, Allotrope Partners, World Resources Institute, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory launched the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA) in 2016. CEIA is a public-private investment collaboration supported by the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, along with other sponsors. With initial work in Southeast Asia and Latin America, CEIA aggregates corporate clean energy demand and advances the policy and financing frameworks necessary to meet the clean energy needs of large buyers.

Facebook
In June 2016, Facebook committed to continuing its efforts through REBA and RE100 to expand impact, to raise awareness and help other companies navigate the complexities of power purchase agreements (PPAs), to work closely with utilities to develop green tariffs, and to source 50% of its energy from clean energy sources in 2018. The company continues its work on all fronts.

Substantial progress has been made toward reaching the 50% goal. In 2016, Facebook also announced that its three new data centers—in Los Lunas, New Mexico; Odense, Denmark; and Papillion, Nebraska—will be 100% powered by renewable energy.

Existing market restrictions make it difficult or impossible for companies to buy clean energy—one of the biggest obstacles to corporate sourcing. Facebook has been working extensively with local utilities in the United States, as well as with the companies and nonprofits involved in REBA, to open up market access for clean energy by creating new green tariffs, including the “Green Energy Rider” in New Mexico and Rate 261-M in Omaha, Nebraska. Facebook expects to use these tariffs for its new data centers in New Mexico and in Nebraska, and other companies can also take advantage of these tariffs to help grow the entire market for clean energy.

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
By providing buyer education, market analysis and transactional guidance, Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center (BRC) is catalyzing corporate renewable energy procurement in North America. Since 2008, BRC’s 200+ members have participated in 93% of corporate transactions, representing over 7.2 GW of new renewable projects. In response to member requests to explore international opportunities, BRC now is leveraging RMI’s expertise in China, working with local regulators, developers, and early adopters to test various procurement options.

United States / National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Policy makers can achieve their renewable energy goals by enabling options for corporates to buy on- and off-site renewables, removing barriers to siting and access, and ensuring credible transactions. The policy environment is a key factor in determining where and how corporations procure renewables. A new report from the 21st Century Power Partnership as a contribution from the United States, Policies for Enabling Corporate Sourcing of Renewable Energy Internationally, explores policies and regulations that can facilitate corporate renewable energy procurement in both liberalized and vertically integrated electricity markets.

SolarPower Europe
SolarPower Europe announced a new event focused on connecting renewable energy buyers and sellers. RESource 2017, taking place on 11 October 2017 in Brussels, will bring together a range of multinational corporations, renewable energy developers and senior decision-makers to raise awareness, exchange information and facilitate connections in order to rapidly increase the procurement of renewable power.

  1. Exchange information about renewable energy procurement and PPAs (costs, challenges, opportunities, regulations, contracts, etc.).
  2. Facilitate B2B connections between corporate buyers and renewable electricity suppliers through formal matchmaking meetings.
  3. Influence decision-makers to introduce favourable and stable regulatory frameworks for renewable power procurement and consumption.

For more information: resource-event.eu/

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Since 2015, WBCSD has been successfully running the Corporate Renewable PPA Forum, a collaboration designed to increase understanding and use of corporate renewable PPAs globally. To roll out available PPA solutions on a global scale, WBCSD established a national forum in India with over 20 member companies from the supply and buy sides and will be doing the same in China with 14 companies. Since the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7), the Forum has gained 11 new members for a grand total of 27, representing a purchasing power of at least 60 TWh of electricity demand. WBCSD has also released a report that guides companies through the process of procuring renewable power via PPAs.

Center for Resource Solutions
With 20 years of experience in renewable energy policy and market design, Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) is excited to share international best practices on renewable energy certificate systems and new renewable energy procurement options. CRS provides technical assistance to Chinese government officials from NEA, the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (CREEI), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and others on a variety of renewable energy technology and policy issues. CRS has provided guidance on the design and implementation of China’s renewable energy certificate (REC) system, tracking system design, reporting, verification, voluntary market policy, and quota system design. In December 2016, CRS co-hosted a workshop with the UN Environment Programme in Paris, highlighting the “Options and Pathways for Growing Voluntary Markets.” This high-level workshop focused on the building blocks of voluntary renewable energy transactions and how best to address local implementation barriers. CRS is currently developing its Green-e certification program for Singapore and looks forward to continuing to support policy and market solutions globally to accelerate renewable energy development.

Mexico
In order to promote the Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign in Mexico, the Director General of Clean Energies of the Energy Secretariat is carrying out an informational program of work with the National Association of Self-Service and Department Stores (ANTAD, by its acronym in Spanish), a chain of retail trade group of more than 50,000 establishments throughout the country. This is done in collaboration with the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the Danish Energy Agency (DEA). Three webinars have been programmed to promote this work: the first on the new laws, regulations, and standards that emerge from the Mexican Energy Reform; the second on technological advances that facilitate access to renewable energy sources for companies; and the third on the business model that makes renewable energy consumption profitable for companies. The webinars will take place in June, July, and August.

In addition, a Corporate Renewables Supply Manual is being prepared that will allow entrepreneurs to know the details and procedures to participate in the campaign.

The Government of Mexico has also partnered with REN21 to organize the next International Renewable Energy Conference (MEXIREC) from 11–13 September 2017, within the framework of the Strategic Dialogues on the Future of Energy (DEMEX). Within this framework, a side event on corporate sourcing of renewables is scheduled to take place on Monday, 11 September, with the participation of the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ). The objective of this event is to bring together authorities, developers, and international institutions to share experiences, study mechanisms to facilitate the purchase of renewable energies for corporate clients, and show the role of public-private cooperation in promoting these schemes. The panel, made up of national and international experts, will explore opportunities and challenges for Mexican and international companies to increase their purchases of and investments in renewable energy.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
WWF continues to work with our NGO partners to grow the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), which supports over 60 major companies to grow corporate demand for renewable power and help utilities and others meet it. REBA connects large businesses to renewable energy supply and collaborates with utilities to develop innovative products that grow renewable energy. REBA launched in 2016 and has a goal of adding 60 GW of additional renewable energy to the U.S. grid by 2025.

WWF is also working to expand REBA’s approach to key international markets, beginning with India, Mexico, and China, where we are working to bring together corporate partners to better understand the variety of renewable energy needs in those specific contexts, and to work with other key market participants to define and create new solutions that can met that demand. Towards this end, WWF recently convened a Corporate Buyers’ Days in India and will be hosting similar events in Mexico and China in the coming months.

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About the Clean Energy Ministerial
The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a partnership of the world’s key economies working together to accelerate the global clean energy transition. Launched in 2010, the CEM pairs the high-level engagement of energy ministers with year-round initiatives and campaigns to drive faster deployment of clean energy policies and technologies worldwide.