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RE100 in China: Opportunity for business to help deliver the country’s climate commitments

Date
03 July 2015
RE100 in China: Opportunity for business to help deliver the country’s climate commitments

LONDON: Emily Farnworth, Campaign Director for RE100, The Climate Group, blogs about the rollout of RE100 in China this week – starting with the launch of a capacity building program to help companies set strategies to achieve 100% renewable power.

The release this week of China’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), provides a welcome boost to the global pledge-making process ahead of crucial COP21 climate talks at the end of the year.

But any climate agreement reached in Paris this December will only take effect from 2020. This gap provides a clear opportunity for business to show leadership, now.

That’s why RE100 is so important. Our aim is to engage, showcase and support influential companies committed to 100% renewable power – thereby increasing global demand for renewables and helping the transition to a low carbon future.

And we want to involve as many leading companies as we can.

In China, global companies such as Lenovo and Huawei have taken first steps by installing solar arrays at their factories, and Apple plans to run its iPhone factory on 100% renewable power. Yet due to various technical, financial and policy barriers, we see that most companies have yet to make such investments.

BUSINESS CASE

The good news is that the business case for renewables is growing all the time. The cost of renewable energy is falling and policy support is increasing; solar is a particularly viable option.

Renewable power is fast becoming a good business move for major Chinese businesses. And with the government clearly signalling that clean energy is the direction of travel, many are keen to learn more.

I’m thrilled that The Climate Group has teamed up with Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), to run a program – as part of RE100 – designed to help companies with operations in China to develop renewable energy strategies and set targets for becoming 100% renewable.

RE100 in China is a real opportunity for businesses to lead the way and help to deliver on the country’s new INDC.

Household appliance manufacturer ROBAM is one of the first Chinese companies to take part. Keen to increase its use of renewable energy, the company will benefit alongside existing RE100 corporate partners IKEA and Mars Incorporated and Chinese firm, Elion Resources.

All companies are at different stages. For example Elion has already made commitments to being 100% renewable, but wants to better understand various energy options in China.

WORKSHOPS

Through a series of workshops, webinars and field trips, the program will enable the sharing of best practice, peer-to-peer learning, and first-hand experience of corporate renewable energy projects.

Questions around technology, finance and project planning will be answered by experts, and participants will gain insight into how RE100 corporate partners are delivering their own strategies to 100% renewable power.

To make sure companies find the understanding and confidence they need to move their approaches forward, each will produce a credible roadmap that lays out both short-term and long-term renewable energy goals with specific technology solutions.

And this format works. I’ve just returned from India where RE100 held workshops to understand the business case for 100% renewable power in the region. There is no doubt around the appetite Indian businesses have to learn more about how they can increase their use of renewable power.

DRIVING MOMENTUM

As we have learned in India and through other events and conversations around the world, it is clearly beneficial to bring companies together to learn from each other. This is especially the case in areas of the world where the market is just opening up. No business wants to go out on a limb.

By working across sectors and regions, business can drive momentum for renewable power and help spur demand to accelerate the global shift to clean power.

I’m excited about showcasing the innovative approaches that the companies we work with develop – especially in parts of the world where opportunities are just beginning to open up. Increased visibility of what is being achieved will enable us to convince others to do the same. And showcasing what leading companies are doing is an added benefit of becoming a RE100 corporate member and committing to 100% renewable power.

The launch of our capacity building program in China could not come at a better time. With China’s INDC at the forefront of minds, the government will be looking to the private sector to take this opportunity to make long-term investments in renewables and help deliver the implementation of the country’s ambitious plan.

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