Major businesses call for cost-effective European market for renewables

A host of major businesses have penned a declaration calling on governments to set enabling policies that incentivise and increase opportunities to source renewable electricity through onsite installations and power purchase agreements (PPAs).

The declaration has been signed by almost 100 corporates, including the likes of Ikea, Amazon, BT, Google, Microsoft, H&M and Heineken. Convened by European renewable energy platform RE-Source, the declaration sets out a wishlist that would enable greater investment in renewables across Europe.

Specifically, the declaration calls for policymakers to remove regulatory and administrative barriers to sourcing renewables – a request that is being facilitated through the Renewable Energy Directive –  so that successful markets in the Nordics, the Netherlands and the UK can be replicated across the continent.

Signatories, which also include Facebook, Dow, Nike and E.ON, have also called for more certainty and clarity on Guarantees of Origin (GOs) documents. Europe’s common energy market means that energy can be produced in one EU nation and consumed in another, but businesses that do not purchase GOs have no guarantee that their electricity does not come from nuclear of fossil fuels. In fact, the declaration calls for corporates to be allowed to sign cross-border transactions for renewable energy, to deploy more cost-effective solutions.

Commenting on the declaration, Microsoft’s renewable energy strategist, Vanessa Miler, said: “Corporate sourcing of renewable energy plays a key role in accelerating Europe’s clean energy transition. The demand from corporates is clear.

“With the Renewable Energy Directive having been passed, we look forward to a regulatory framework further enabling corporate PPAs to allow more investments in renewable energy, taking us ahead in our journey towards a greener Europe.”

European transition

Research suggests that corporate PPAs worth 6GW have been signed across Europe, almost 2GW of which was contracted in 2018. Commercial and industrial onsite corporate sourcing reached 1.7GW last year and is expected to grow during the 2020s.

Corporate sourcing of renewable has largely been facilitated through the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, which commits companies to transition to 100% renewable electricity. There are 67 EU-based members of the RE100 that are expected to use 70TWh of renewable electricity annually by 2030.

RE-Source is aiming to increase the number of corporates purchasing renewable power to 100,000.

“As the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, we are dedicated to doing our part to scale renewables in Europe. Expansion of corporate PPAs can be a major driver in Europe’s renewable energy transition,” Google’s senior energy lead, Marc Oman, added.

Matt Mace

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