RE100: Energy crisis causes corporates to push back deadlines for 100% renewables goal
Businesses that have made public commitments to procuring renewable electricity through the RE100 initiative have collectively increased clean energy consumption year-on-year, despite some firms having to push deadlines back due to the energy crisis.
The RE100, a global initiative between CDP and Climate Group that commits member companies to using 100% renewable electricity by 2040, has this week published its annual disclosure report.
The report, Driving renewables in a time of change, reveals that companies remain committed to achieving 100% renewable energy use but are facing a plethora of market-based challenges. The report cites high costs, limited supply and a lack of procurement options in some regions as the main barriers.
Despite the present challenges, the analysis reveals that RE100 member firms have reported consuming 49% renewable electricity on average in 2021, which is a 4% increase on 2020 levels.
There are 370 RE100 members with revenues of more than $6.6trn. Collectively, these members account for 1.5% of global electricity consumption – more than what is consumed by the UK.
RE100 members procured at least 85 TWh of renewable electricity from projects commissioned or re-powered in the past 15 years, accounting for almost half of all purchasing decisions.
The ongoing energy crisis has seen some RE100 members push back deadlines. Now, the average target set by RE100 members for achieving 100% renewable electricity use has been pushed back to 2031, one year later than last year’s report. However, 14 members have actually pushed their 100% renewable targets forward by an average of 12 years.
“The age of cheap fossil fuels is over. Renewables have proven themselves the cheaper, more cost-effective option time and time again, even during an energy crisis. I’m pleased to see the continued work of our RE100 members and call on policymakers to urgently meet corporate demand for renewable electricity,” the Climate Group’s director of energy Sam Kimmins said.
With corporations globally accounting for around 50% of electricity consumption and 25% of emissions, the RE100 is calling on more corporates to spur demand for clean energy.
Last year’s report from the RE100 highlighted the ongoing challenges that corporates are facing when it comes to renewables procurement.
The RE100 found that 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 electricity was prohibitively high, despite falling technology costs.
The 2023 iteration of the report found that challenges are compounding further. The report cites high costs, limited supply and a lack of procurement options as major barriers to uptake.
The report comes in the same week that it was revealed that wind and solar arrays accounted for more than one-fifth (22%) of the EU’s electricity generation mix in 2022, while fossil gas accounted for 20%.
Published by energy think-tank and clean energy advocates Ember, the European Electricity Review highlights how a slight increase in coal-fired electricity production in Europe last year was more than offset by increased deployment of renewables.
However, many corporates are facing procurement challenges further afield. The report states that Asia remains the most challenging market for renewables procurement. However, almost two-thirds of new RE100 membership is located in that region, suggesting that breakthroughs could be delivered over the coming years.