Governments and private sector corporations have committed to work together to scale up clean energy under the aegis of The Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign, launched June 2 at the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) meeting in San Francisco.
As host to CEM7 and to the inaugural Mission Innovation Ministerial, U.S. President Barack Obama commented, “Last year, the world set two new records – global investment in renewable energy was the highest ever, and, for the first time, more than half of the world’s new electric capacity came from clean sources. In addition, by 2020, global energy efficiency investment in buildings is projected to increase from $90 billion in 2014 to over $125 billion. But we have more work to do.
“That is why,” he said, “[this week’s] meeting and announcements are so important, so countries can continue to work together to accelerate the transition to the clean energy economy of tomorrow in collaboration with our smartest scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.”
Attendees at the meetings included energy leaders from 23 countries and the European Union – representing 90 percent of clean energy investment and 75 percent of global carbon emissions worldwide, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said. In addition, nearly 60 companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and ten subnational governments were represented.
The new Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign is anticipated to build partnerships that will increase the number of companies committed to sourcing solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy for their operations. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has partnered with the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), RE-100, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Resources Institute to drive the initiative.
Together, they see opportunities to:
- Commit to power operations with large shares of renewable energy;
- Help develop policy recommendations and contribute to the development of a policy toolkit for governments;
- Share case studies, cost data, and other information that can help build the business case;
- Host workshops and other programs for information development and exchange; and
- Participate in the development of a “Remade” consumer label.
“The private sector accounts for roughly 50 percent of the world’s electricity consumption and so must play a key role in the ongoing global energy transition,” commented IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin, adding “ Switching this demand to renewables will decrease emissions, generate jobs, and deliver a host of other environmental, social, and economic benefits across the globe. IRENA looks forward to collaborating with initiative partners to reach this aim.”
At the meeting on June 2, the following companies made pledges to support the program:
- Apple committed to work with CEM7 countries and partners to spur the development and procurement of renewable energy within its global supply chain. Apple is cooperating with its suppliers to install more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of new clean energy worldwide, including 2 GW 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.
- Autodesk announced three milestones: 1) Powering their facilities with 100% 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 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target.
- Facebook announced its intention to: 1) Fund the REBA initiatives; 2) Collaborate to expand REBA internationally, 3) Work through REBA to raise awareness and help other companies navigate the complexities of power purchase agreements (PPAs); 4) Work closely with utilities to develop green tariffs; and 5) Source 50 percent of its energy from clean energy sources in 2018.
- Google committed to work in collaboration with national governments, renewable energy buyers and suppliers, NGOs, and others across CEM members 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 among CEM members.
- Microsoft announced it will power its data centers with energy that is at least 50 percent wind, hydro, and solar by 2018; and 60 percent by early next decade. In addition, Microsoft pledged to maintain 100 percent carbon neutrality.
- Wells Fargo committed 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.
While the CEM7 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 RE-100, the partners said. RE-100 describes itself as “a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, working to massively increase demand for – and delivery of – renewable energy.”
On June 2, the U.S. Department of Energy also released Federal Financing Programs for Clean Energy, a resource guide to government programs that support the development of clean energy projects in the United States and abroad. Featuring more than 30 programs from ten agencies, the guide includes summaries and case studies of programs that can benefit private sector partners in finding capital for clean energy projects. Now in its third edition, the guide includes financing programs for both domestic and international projects. For every program listed, the guide identifies contact information to answer questions and provide additional direction. The guide includes programs from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, State, Transportation, and Treasury; along with the Environmental Protection Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Small Business Administration.