RE100, the global corporate renewable energy initiative has released its annual disclosure for 2021, identifying that whilst last year saw global supply-chain shocks and rising costs for businesses, the use of renewable energy continued to grow at pace.
Source: Geograph Britain and Ireland
As RE100 enters its eighth year, the initiative sees 50 newmembers join in 2021 alone
RE100, the joint initiative between CDP and Climate Group aims to bring together corporations committed to 100% renewable electricity. To date, the scheme has seen more than 340 corporations from across the globe sign up as members. Many of these businesses are leading, well-known brands, including players such as Apple, BT, Google, Fujitsu, Meta, and Microsoft. These corporations are part of an initiative which plays a pivotal role in both increasing renewable electricity capacity, and opening access in new markets.
RE100’s annual disclosure[i] provides fascinating insight into how renewables are progressing, offering data on capacity additions, energy usage, as well as company policy and targets. The most recent report captured data from 315 of the 349 members, who between themselves accounted for an aggregated electricity consumption of 340 TWh, greater than the United Kingdom’s. Further, the past year saw 50 new members sign up to the scheme, with a significant proportion of these located in the Asia-pacific region, which is historically far less geared towards the use of renewable energy.
Renewable capacity increases as PPAs grow in popularity
Delving further into RE100’s data, the report showed a clear increase in capacity for renewable electricity. In fact, 2021 set a record for such additions- up by 17% YoY, of which 60% was from solar PV (Photovoltaic System). Also in a further positive step, 45% of reported electricity consumption by RE100 members was classed as renewable in 2021, up from 41% in 2020.
RE100 also report that many more of their members are sourcing renewable electricity through Power Purchase Agreements(PPAs). 28% of reported procurement of renewable electricity is done through PPAs, up from 26% in the 2020 report, it has also been found that RE100 members are likely responsible for driving the addition of new renewable energy capacity:
“New disclosures in 2021 suggest that RE100 members sourcing through PPAs are directly responsible for bringing new renewable electricity capacity to grids: PPAs are strongly associated with facilities less than two years old.”[ii]
Re100's growth in membership numbers, aggregated electricity consumption, and sourcing of renewable electricity
Supply Chain under Increased Scrutiny
ZCA have noted in past blogs andwhitepapers the struggle and risk smaller firms may face as larger players scrutinise all aspects of their operations, as part of their green agenda.
With larger firms now facing both increasingly stringent regulation and reporting structures, as well as external pressure to prove their carbon credentials, their business deals are increasingly under the microscope. It has never been more important for large companies to be able to accurately show their supply chain networks associated emissions data. Large companies are subsequently seeking reputable firms for partnership as well as homing in on environmentally sound supply chain partners, that can actively support and fit into their evolving green agenda.
This has been supported in the CDP’s Global Supply Chain Report 2020, which found that supply chain emissions are on average 11.4 times greater than operational emissions. “Reducing supply chain emissions is a critical part of a corporate decarbonization plan and is often mandated by the Science Based Targets initiative.”[iv] Re100’s 2021 Disclosure noted that of the 315 members who reported, more than a quarter (77) are engaging with their supply chains on renewable electricity, whilst 35 members plan to start these discussions in the next two years. Of those 77 engaging with their supply chains, a quarter ask them to set targets for procuring renewable electricity.
Challenges Remain in Several Markets
Not all findings in Re100’s recent disclosure were positive however, the initiatives average target year for members to reach 100% renewable energy has shifted further into the future. This has been driven by the onboarding of new members based in Asia Pacific, where renewable electricity is harder for companies to source. In this region itself, the average target year is 2039, yet in Europe, the average target is 2025, and in North America, it is 2027.
The report also explained how several obstacles relating to a lack of supporting national policies are preventing a number of members from making progress, as Edie.net summarised: “40 companies across 66 national markets reported having access to limited or no renewable electricity generation. A further 37 said that while renewable electricity was being generated locally, procurement options for businesses are limited. Additionally, 27 businesses said the cost of purchasing renewable electricitywas prohibitively high, despite falling technology costs.”[v] In fact, a lack of procurement options is the most frequently reported barrier by RE100 members: appearing most in Argentina, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Korea.
As we look ahead to 2022, the data shows corporate demand for renewables is strong but is often hindered by national policy and a lack of infrastructure. As discussed, RE100’s average target year is now further in the future, and it will likely continue to move in a similar direction as the initiative continues its drive for membership in from the Asia-Pacific region, as well as businesses from other economies which are less established in the delivery of renewables.
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