Eighty-seven leading global companies – among them, Ikea USA, Hewlett Packard, and Tata Motors – confirm the strong business case for sourcing 100 percent renewable electricity in the newly released RE100 Annual Report 2017.
Indeed, according to the report, members of RE100 now are creating demand for about 107 TWh of renewable power annually – or about the same amount of electricity as The Netherlands consumes each year.
RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, brings together “a growing group of major, influential companies from around the world [that] are setting targets to go 100 percent renewable energy in their electricity procurement,” stated Jim Walker, Co-founder of The Climate Group.
“Why are companies doing this? The cost of energy is coming down, rapidly,” said Walker in a video produced by CBS EcoMedia to accompany the report. “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.”
Among E100 members, 34 told the researchers 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,” reported Nick Gunn, SVP, Global Corporate Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise: “We’re procuring now 112 MW 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,” Gunn added.
The company has set the goal of raising the use of renewable energy from its current levels of 13 percent globally to 40 percent by 2020, with the ultimate target of achieving 100 percent. 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 vendors.
“RE100 importance lies in two factors,” says Rachel Kyte, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, based in Vienna, 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.”
Ikea Group also is heavily investing in renewable energy –having pledged US$1.13 billion for renewables and climate action globally. Ikea USA CEO Lars Petersson proudly confirms in the video, “Right as we speak, 71 percent of all energy consumed at Ikea is actually produced by renewable sources – and by 2020, we will be 100 percent.”
“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 wind farms – 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 percent clean energy economy.”