LONDON: A prestigious group of leading businesses, cities and local authorities, that are all committed to 100% clean energy, gathered at a special event in London on Tuesday, where UK Climate Change and Industry Minister Nick Hurd championed the RE100 corporate campaign.
RE100, a global, collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, works to shift the energy system away from fossil fuels and accelerate a low carbon global economy.
The continued growth and success of RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, inspired Here Now to form UK100 last year – an expanding club of 67 UK cities and local authorities signed up to 100% clean energy by 2050.
The week after the Government gave its Autumn Statement, the two initiatives partnered with Maitland Green, the sustainability communications agency, to deliver a roundtable event in Westminster, bringing together dozens of leaders from business and government and a range of wider stakeholders, to showcase momentum for 100% clean energy and demonstrate the importance of collaboration.
The Minister praised both RE100 and UK100 for bringing people together and pushing for further and faster climate action.
Acknowledging turbulent times in global politics, Hurd emphasized the crucial role of climate leadership, now more than ever, and distributed leadership. He agreed to work with city and council leaders as the UK government implements its industrial strategy, with clean energy playing a key part.
In a keynote speech Hurd said: “Cities and communities are important partners for the Government as we transition to a global low carbon economy. Together we can demonstrate that cutting emissions is compatible with economic growth as we build a diverse energy system fit for the 21st century.”
During the event, the Minister also heard from a number of RE100 members already working to 100% renewable power.
Caroline Hill, Head of Sustainability at Land Securities, which has installed one of the largest solar arrays on a shopping center in Europe, said: “Land Securities has been sourcing 100% renewable electricity since April this year, and we’re now working closely with our retail and office customers, and other stakeholders, to increase the wider uptake of renewables. We welcome more collaborative working between the private and public sectors – for example, reviewing how excess capacity generated on private sites can feed into local heating districts. By working together we can accelerate the shift to a cleaner future.”
Also among the speakers were Adam Elman, Head of Global Delivery: Sustainability / Plan A at Marks & Spencer, who highlighted the business case for renewable power; Abyd Karmali, Managing Director – Climate Finance at Bank of America, who underlined the need for supportive government policy; and Robert Williams, General Manager, Procurement – Utilities, Power & Cooling at BT Group, who asked the Minister to reduce the complexity of electricity charges.
Damian Ryan, Acting CEO, The Climate Group said: “RE100 is driving corporate demand for renewables in the UK and around the world, and I’m thrilled to hear it is inspiring local authorities to sign up to go 100% renewable too. Scaling up demand for renewables is good for everyone. More demand means more supply and hence lower energy costs for businesses, councils and hard-working families. Going 100% renewable makes sense for communities and our economy alike.”