An international assembly of high-level clean energy leaders attending the Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) has launched the Corporate Sourcing for Renewables Campaign, a collaborative drive to significantly increase the number of companies around the world powering operations with renewable energy.
Company demand for renewables is becoming a critical driver towards decarbonizing power systems. Analysis by RE100 estimates that if 1,000 of the world’s most influential businesses become 100% powered by renewables, they could decarbonize almost a tenth of all electricity used worldwide and cut more than 1,000 Mt of CO2 every year—3.4% of global emissions.
The new CEM Campaign launch was met with enthusiasm from global public and private sector energy leaders alike. Led by the governments of Germany and Denmark, other CEM members participating in the Campaign including China, the European Commission, Mexico, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Lars Christian Lilleholt, Denmark’s Minister of Energy, Utilities and Climate said, “I believe this CEM Campaign can play a key role in unlocking the potential for more companies to power their operations with clean energy by breaking down policy barriers and highlighting the solid business case.”
The governments were joined by several partners in this collaborative effort, including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), RE100, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), and others to scale corporate procurement and drive additional deployment of renewables across the range of Clean Energy Ministerial member countries. The Campaign illustrates the CEM approach not to duplicate efforts but to act as a platform to coordinate and elevate efforts and identify and fill gaps.
“Corporates can have a key impact on scaled-up deployment of renewables, depending on market and regulatory frameworks,“ said Thorsten Herdan, Director General for Energy Policy, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). “The CEM Campaign will facilitate best practice exchange, importantly also including the business perspective.”
The campaign builds off work by the CEM’s Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group, and as an initial step in making the business case, the Working Group and IRENA released a new report, The Power to Change: Cost Reduction Potential of Solar and Wind Technologies, which highlights onshore wind and solar PV as cost-competitive with conventional technologies.
During CEM7, Wells Fargo announced that the company “is committed to purchasing renewable energy to power 100 percent of our operations by 2017 with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020.”
While the CEM campaign is encouraging action by companies of all sizes, it is driving the biggest, most influential companies to make a 100% renewable power commitment and join RE100, a global, collaborative business initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, as an action of the We Mean Business coalition. The 59 companies already signed up to this initiative were recognized during the Ministerial and the following companies announced they are joining RE100: Dentsu Aegis, Interface Inc, TD Bank Group, Tetra Pak, and Equinix.
Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group, said, “The demand push from corporates is as important as supportive government policy—bold action by businesses, cities and governments sends a strong market signal and means we can bring global warming below two degrees far more quickly.”
Global companies that have been leading the charge for corporate sourcing of renewables—Google, Facebook, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Apple—also announced commitments to the CEM Campaign.
Drawing on the experience of these leaders, the Campaign will undertake a multi-pronged strategy: help make the business case for more companies, both large and small, to transition to renewables; identify and deploy supportive policies and resources that can help facilitate additional corporate sourcing of renewables; and, in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Coalition for Action, introduce a new “REmade” consumer label to recognize those companies completing transactions and whose products and services are produced with renewable energy.
Companies around the world have been making commitments to power their operations with renewable energy. The opportunities for businesses, both large and small, are multiple: lock in fixed and in many cases lower costs over the long term, meet corporate sustainability goals, and show leadership on environmental and social issues. Additional corporate commitments across multiple markets also provide a crucial message to governments and to other companies about the growing demand for increasingly cost-competitive renewable energy, driving further cost reductions and deployment and helping countries reach and increase their renewable energy goals.
“The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance has seen tremendous momentum in the corporate procurement trend in the United States, India, Mexico and elsewhere,” said Letha Tawney, Director of Utility Innovation at World Resources Institute. “The CEM Campaign marks a recognition of how crucial renewable energy is to these companies and many more who have set ambitious renewable energy goals for themselves.”
“The CEM campaign to scale up corporate renewable sourcing is an important step forward,” said Maria Mendiluce, Director of Climate & Energy for WBCSD. “Corporate Renewable PPAs have evolved rapidly in the U.S., and WBCSD is working with companies from around the world to widen the buyer base for PPAs internationally that enable companies to gain visibility over their future costs, hedge against price volatility, and progress towards their renewable or GHG targets.”
In addition, the Campaign will seek additional commitments to take tangible actions that further its goal. Energy ministers and partners will report on key deliverables during the next Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM8), which will be hosted by China in 2017.
To learn more about the Campaign and how to join, visit http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org/Corporate-Sourcing-of-Renewables.
CAMPAIGN COMMITMENTS ANNOUNCED
- Wells Fargo commits to purchasing renewable energy to power 100 percent of operations by 2017 with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020.
- Google commits to work in collaboration with national governments, renewable energy buyers and suppliers, NGOs, and others across CEM member governments to convene a group of stakeholders to survey the policy and regulatory structures critical to enabling corporate purchasing of renewable energy and make policy recommendations for how to further unlock corporate renewable energy demand in CEM member governments.
- Autodesk is announcing three milestones: 1) powering their facilities with 100 percent renewable energy—four years ahead of schedule; 2) deepening their commitment to "credible" renewable energy procurement—procuring energy that is additional, local and that spurs innovation; and 3) setting an internal price on carbon. These inter-related activities will accelerate progress toward Autodesk’s science-based GHG emissions reduction target.
- Facebook announces commitments to 1) provide funding to Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) initiatives; 2) collaborate to expand REBA internationally, 3) work through REBA to raise awareness and help other companies navigate the complexities of PPAs; 4) work closely with utilities to develop green tariffs; and 5) source 50% of their data center energy from clean energy sources in 2018.
- Microsoft is announcing that they will power their datacenters with energy that is at least 50 percent wind, hydro and solar by 2018 and 60 percent early next decade. This is significant, given that the IT sector including Microsoft are some of the fastest-growing energy users in the world, consuming as much energy as a small state and, in decades to come, as much as mid-size nations. Microsoft is actively working through REBA to deliver on these goals in markets around the world. In addition, Microsoft pledged they will maintain 100% carbon neutrality on top of this new commitment.
- Apple commits to work with CEM countries and partners to spur the development and procurement of renewable energy within its global supply chain. Apple is working with its suppliers to install more than 4 gigawatts of new clean energy worldwide, including 2 gigawatts in China by 2020. Apple’s supply chain is the single biggest source of its comprehensive carbon footprint, so the company is committing to actively engage with ministers and partners in the United States, China and other CEM countries to drive the transition to green manufacturing.
NEW RE100 COMMITMENTS
While the CEM campaign is encouraging action by companies of all sizes, it is driving the biggest, most influential companies to make a 100 percent renewable power commitment and join RE100. The companies already signed up to this initiative were recognized during the Ministerial, and the following companies announced they are joining RE100, taking the total number of committed companies in RE100 to 65.
- TD Bank Group, the first Canadian company to join RE100, has sourced renewable electricity equivalent to 100 percent of its global operations since 2015. It also generates solar energy at 124 locations, including at its net zero energy branch in Florida.
- Tetra Pak is committing to powering its operations with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030, with an interim goal to reach 80 percent by 2020. By joining RE100, Tetra Pak will benefit from expert guidance and peer-to-peer learning on renewable electricity options in different markets.
- Interface, Inc. is committing to operate its factories on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. Based in the United States, the company is already sourcing 94 percent renewable electricity across its global operations.
- Dentsu Aegis Network is committing to sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. The company recognizes that de-coupling carbon from growth will allow it to become resilient to resource scarcity and price fluctuations—delivering on carbon goals while achieving long-term financial savings.
- Equinix has a long-term goal of using 100 percent renewable electricity with an interim goal of reaching 50 percent (against a 2015 baseline) by 2017.
About CEM: The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a forum of 23 countries and the European Commission working together to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Launched in 2010, the CEM pairs the high-level engagement of energy ministers with sustained initiatives and high-visibility campaigns to drive faster deployment of clean energy policies and technologies worldwide.