Vodafone on track for 100% renewable electricity in Europe in 2021

Image: Vodafone Italy

After joining the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative in 2018 and pledging to source 100% renewable electricity for its global operations by 2025, Vodafone has today (17 July) revealed that it is on-track to reach the 100% milestone in Europe within 12 months.

Around four-fifths of the energy used by Vodafone’s networks by July 2021 sourced through power purchase agreements (PPAs) and renewable tariffs. The majority of the remaining fifth will be covered by renewable energy guarantees of origin (REGO) certificates, as it is supplied to facilities let by landlords. A minority of the remaining fifth will be sourced from onsite generation arrays, predominantly solar.

Vodafone said it is able to meet the goal sooner than first expected after investing heavily in energy efficiency initiatives. 2019 saw Vodafone invest €77m (£69.8m) in energy efficiency improvements at its base station sites, data centres and switching centres, which collectively account for 95% of its total energy consumption. As a result, the firm’s annual energy consumption dropped by 186 GWh, despite ongoing growth in data usage.

“Our accelerated shift to 100% renewable electricity on our European networks will change the way we power our technology for good – reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, helping our customers manage their resources more effectively and reduce their carbon emissions while helping to create a healthier planet for everyone,” Vodafone Group’s chief executive Nick Read said.

“As society rebuilds and recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, we have an opportunity to reshape our future sustainably to ensure that recovery does not come at a cost to the environment.”

New ambition

A proportion of the funding needed to increase renewable electricity procurement and better energy efficiency was secured through Vodafone’s first green bond, launched in May 2019. The €750m bond is being used to finance or refinance projects which contribute to any of the telecoms giant’s sustainability ambitions, which also include commitments to halve its environmental footprint by 2025, against a 2019 baseline, and to improve the lives of one billion people.

To complement the new 2021 renewables target, Vodafone has this week set a new ambition to mitigate 250 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in collaboration with Carbon Trust.

The majority of the mitigation will be delivered through Vodafone’s services for businesses, cities and individual customers. While most know the firm for its mobile phone tariffs, it also provides Internet of Things (IoT) services for smart logistics and smart cities.

Transitioning to smart cities is widely considered essential to help balance the need for decarbonisation with trends like population growth, urbanisation and increasing electricity demand. 

Sarah George

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie