Leading companies make business case to go 100% renewable

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 6 minutes
24 January 2017

LONDON: Leading global companies have confirmed the strong business case for sourcing 100% renewable electricity in the newly published RE100 Annual Report 2017.

RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together “a growing group of major, influential companies from around the world who are setting targets to go 100% renewable energy in their electricity procurement,” says Jim Walker, Co-Founder of The Climate Group.

Growing rapidly, RE100 now has 87 members across a wide range of sectors – including globally recognized businesses like IKEA, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Tata Motors.

The report shows how RE100 companies are now creating demand for approximately 107 terawatt/hour (TWh) of renewable power annually, which is around the same amount of electricity as consumed by The Netherlands.

“Why are companies doing this? The cost of energy is coming down, rapidly,” continues Jim Walker in a video produced by CBS EcoMedia. “When you are using on-site renewables, you are managing volatility and the price of your energy supply, you are generating your own electrons and you are buying it from yourself – you don’t have to buy it at a retail price, so it’s cheaper. Just makes good business sense. Also, it’s just the right thing to do – contributing to better air quality.”

RE100 - by CBS EcoMedia

34 RE100 members have reported that they are generating renewable energy at their facilities – with wind and solar photovoltaics clearly the most popular technologies.

“We did a deal with a Texas wind farm,” confirms Nick Gunn, SVP, Global Corporate Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise: “We’re procuring now 112 megawatts of power from wind farms, which is actually enough to provide enough electricity for our entire IT infrastructure.”

“Businesses have a huge impact on the ability to inspire an energy revolution. The more companies like Hewlett Packard Enterprise demand renewable energy, the more creation of renewable energy sources there will be.

The company has the goal of raising the use of renewable energy from its current levels of 13% globally to 40% by 2020, with the ultimate target of achieving 100%. Its strategy focuses on reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency, while both generating on-site clean energy and purchasing it through agreements with off-site.

“RE100 importance lies in two factors,” says Rachel KyteCEO of Sustainable Energy for All and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “One is that the purchasing of renewable energy in the long run positions companies to be at the leading edge of their own sector of industry. On the second hand, its importance lies in the message that sends to the financial sector.”

“Our hope is that RE100 just becomes the norm. By 2020, this is what every business does.”
Amy Davidsen, North America Executive Director, The Climate Group

IKEA Group is also heavily investing in renewable energy, having pledged US$1.13 billion for renewables and climate action globally. Lars Petersson, President & CEO, IKEA USA, proudly underlines how “right as we speak, 71% of all energy consumed at IKEA is actually produced by renewable sources – and by 2020, we will be 100%.”

“We are doing it in many ways: we actually have production of solar power on the roofs of almost all our stores and warehouses. But we also have two windfarms – one in Hoopeston, Illinois, and one in Cameron County, Texas.”

“Business is a very important advocate for clean energy, because it speaks the language of hard economics,” points out Jim Walker. “It’s sending a strong signal to policymakers and the general public that this is the inevitable direction we’re going to move towards – a 100% clean energy economy.”

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