IRENA partners with private sector to boost renewables

Governments and private sector corporations will collaborate to scale up renewable energy in support of the Paris Agreement under a campaign launched at the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) meeting in San Francisco, US.

The Corporate Sourcing of Renewables Campaign – a multi-country initiative – will build partnerships to increase the number of companies committed to sourcing renewable energy for their operations.

The private sector accounts for roughly 50 per cent of the world’s electricity consumption, and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) director-general Adnan Z. Amin said it must play a key role in the ongoing global energy transition.

“Switching this demand to renewables will decrease emissions, generate jobs, and deliver a host of other environmental, social, and economic benefits across the globe. IRENA looks forward to collaborating with initiative partners to reach this aim,” he said.

IRENA joins the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), RE100, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Resources Institute (WRI) as initiative partners. At the government level, Germany and Denmark will lead the campaign in collaboration with China, the European Union, Mexico, the UK and the US. Together with the 23 CEM member governments and the European Union, campaign partners will develop and deploy enabling policies and resources to help businesses source more renewable energy.

Several of the word’s biggest companies have joined the campaign, including:

  • Apple has committed to work with CEM countries and partners to spur the development and procurement of renewable energy within its global supply chain. The tech company is working with its suppliers to install more than 4GW of new clean energy worldwide, including 2GW in China by 2020. Apple’s supply chain is the single biggest source of its comprehensive carbon footprint, so the company is committing to actively engage with ministers and partners in the US, China and other CEM countries to drive the transition to green manufacturing.
  • Facebook announced commitments to: 1) Fund the REBA initiatives; 2) Collaborate to expand REBA internationally, 3) Work through REBA to raise awareness and help other companies navigate the complexities of PPAs; 4) Work closely with utilities to develop green tariffs; and 5) Source 50 per cent of its energy from clean energy sources in 2018.
  • Google committed to work in collaboration with national governments, renewable energy buyers and suppliers, NGOs, and others across CEM members to convene a group of stakeholders to survey the policy and regulatory structures critical to enabling corporate purchasing of renewable energy and make policy recommendations for how to further unlock corporate renewable energy demand in CEM members.
  • Microsoft announced it will power their datacenters with energy that is at least 50 per cent wind, hydro and solar by 2018 and 60 per cent early next decade. This is a significant given the IT sector including Microsoft are some of the fastest growing energy users in the world, consuming as much energy as a small state and in decades to come as much as mid-size nations. Microsoft is actively working through REBA to deliver on these goals in markets around the world. In addition, Microsoft pledged they will maintain 100 per cent carbon neutrality on top of this new commitment.
  • Wells Fargo committed to purchasing renewable energy to power 100 per cent of operations by 2017 with a transition to long-term agreements that fund new sources of green power by 2020.