Addressing climate change is the responsibility of all. Luckily, big global brands are doing their share and choosing to make the shift to cleaner forms of energy.
For example, last April, tech giants Apple and Google announced that their operations are already running on 100 percent renewable energy. Fortunately, other firms are also stepping up and working double time to source their power needs from greener sources of energy.
In fact, there are more than 100 influential global companies who have publicly committed to 100% renewable energy through the RE100 initiative. This collaboration of the world’s biggest brands, mostly tech companies was launched in 2014 and have ever since been working on achieving their goals of powering up their operations with renewables.
Last year, other influential non-tech companies have also joined the drive to use greater RE such as General Motors, Kimberly Clark, General Mills, Starbucks and Target. In total, some 2.78 gigawatts worth of renewables were bought by the RE100’s members in 2017.
These large global brands remain relentless in their pursuit of achieving their targets. This year, members of RE100 are set to break their record by purchasing 1.96GW of renewables. If sustained, corporate RE buying could surpass the peak of 3.12GW recorded in 2015 as reported by the Business Renewable Center.
One of RE100’s members, Microsoft also made the headlines this April by announcing the largest solar power deal in the US corporate history after buying some 315 megawatts from sPower. The purchase will power the tech firm’s datacenter and cloud business operation in Virginia. To date, Microsoft has already invested a total of 1.2 GW of RE, an amount that can light up roughly 100 million bubs
The declining costs of renewables and companies’ desire for a sustainable energy solution are what drive big business to commit and purchase cleaner forms of energy according to Kevin Haley, marketing manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewable Center. “The corporate renewables market is now seeing deals from all industry sectors…… they believe they need to be part of the sustainability solution.”
Addressing climate change is just one of the reasons why large global brands are signing up for more RE purchases. There’s another reason: cost-effectiveness.
These brands’ leadership recognize that sustainable sources of energy will save them money in the long run. Business leaders understand that choosing to invest in RE will save them money as it eliminates the risk of price volatility of fossil fuels.
For example, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure of Google stressed that “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.”
Autodesk’s President and CEO, Lynelle Cameron echoes the view of Hölzle when she said: “By powering our business with 100% renewable electricity we will not only reduce our carbon footprint but give ourselves a competitive advantage as we protect ourselves against future rises in energy costs.”
For years, I have been trying to convince a great number of people that RE is not necessarily the more expensive energy option. It is refreshing to know that big businesses around the world share my views.
Sadly, many in the Philippines fail to recognize the benefits of renewable energy and still subscribe to the notion of the “least cost” option, which only considers the upfront costs. We are still caught in the belief of many energy planners and even our regulators that RE will cost us more, and refuse to realize that price spikes and depletion of fossil fuels will set us back.
Lowering energy costs while saving the environment are the two benefits of choosing greener power. Global companies and governments around the world are already seeing the potential of renewable energy and making big bets on cleaner forms of power as RE technology prices drop fast. What else can we do to convince many Filipinos that RE is the key to sustainable and cheap energy?
ACCELERATING CHANGE: how corporate users are transforming the renewable energy market. RE 100 Annual Report 2017