‘Magenta goes green’: T-Mobile joins RE100 and targets 100% renewable electricity by 2021

Reading time: 3 minutes
29 January 2018

LONDON: Wireless network operator T-Mobile US, Inc. is the latest leading company to join The Climate Group and CDP’s RE100 campaign, with a commitment to achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2021.

The American ‘Un-carrier’ has also unveiled a new contract for sourcing 160 megawatts (MW) of wind power from Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project in Kansas, US, with power generation due to begin in early 2019.

This is the company’s second major power project, after the Red Forks Wind Power Project in Oklahoma went on line in December. Combined, the two wind farms will add 320 MW of renewable energy capacity for T-Mobile US; enough to meet 60% of its electricity needs.

“It’s the Un-carrier way to do the right thing by our customers, and moving to renewable energy is just a natural part of that,” said John Legere, President and CEO of T-Mobile US.

“And it’s not just the right thing to do – it’s smart business! We expect to cut T-Mobile’s energy costs by around US$100 million in the next 15 years thanks to this move. Imagine the awesome things we can do for our customers with that!” 

RE100 members in North America

Ambitious sourcing strategy

Going 100% renewable by 2021 will put T-Mobile at the forefront of the energy transition being driven by RE100 members in the US – where on average, they now are sourcing 25% renewable electricity. T-Mobile US has a clear strategy to achieve its RE100 commitment. The company aims to buy enough wind power annually to account for every unit of electricity it consumes in the US, with the total amount greater than the global electricity consumption of many RE100 members.

T-Mobile US is focused on creating new energy from renewable sources, buying only from projects that wouldn’t exist without the company’s involvement – a growing trend identified in last week’s RE100 Progress and Insights Report

“It’s great to see T-Mobile US shifting to renewables for its power consumption,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group.

“As a large electricity consumer in the US, they can truly transform energy systems by bringing significant renewable capacity online – all of that while delivering real value to their customers. I congratulate them for a great commitment.”

The growth of PPAs

T-Mobile US is one of many RE100 members increasingly opting to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the US. The new RE100 new report shows that, thanks to the falling costs of renewable energy technology, there is a notable shift away from renewable energy attribute certificates towards direct sourcing of renewables.

The proportion of renewable electricity that RE100 members are sourcing through PPAs grew fourfold in 2016, now representing 20% of total electricity consumption in the US.  

Renewable power consumption from RE100 companies grew last year, with the proportion of procurement from offsite grid-connected generators increasing more than fourfold in one year, from 3% to 13%

The business case for action

T-Mobile US recognizes that going 100% renewable is a smart business decision. Last year, RE100 surveyed its members extensively about the drivers and benefits of their energy sourcing strategies, and found that for 88% of respondents, the economics of renewable electricity was a key factor.

“Large electricity users like T-Mobile US forecasting significant costs savings shows there’s every reason to take the highest level of action on renewables,” said Constant Alarcon, RE100 Campaign Manager, The Climate Group.

“Four out of ten companies who replied to our survey said renewable electricity was cost competitive or even delivered cost savings on energy bills. With the costs of renewable energy technology still falling, these benefits are encouraging other forward-thinking businesses to follow.”

Drivers for renewable electricty sourcing, as identified by RE100 members in the RE100 Progress and Insights Report 2018

An ever-growing movement

T-Mobile US becomes the 123rd member of RE100, and takes the total renewable electricity demand being created by the group to over 161 terawatt hours – more than enough to power Egypt or Poland.

by Elly Dinnadge

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