Corporate renewable electricity sourcing in Europe has shown continuous growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating the resilience and potential of Europe’s renewable energy sector. In November 2020, the cumulative contracted volume of corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Europe reached the 11 GW mark, up from just 2.2 GW by the end of 2016 and with a record 3 GW contracted in 2020 alone. This shows that more and more companies are stepping up to the challenge of reducing carbon emissions with renewable electricity, in line with the EU’s plans for a green economic recovery.
With its Green Deal, the EU is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050. Today businesses account for a significant amount of Europe’s carbon emissions. Corporate renewable PPAs are fast becoming a key driver in transitioning businesses to renewable electricity. As such, these agreements play an instrumental role in meeting Europe’s energy and climate targets.
COVID-19 and its impact on Europe’s economies has not reduced demand for corporate renewable electricity sourcing. Companies from various sectors have committed to ambitious climate pledges. Take Novartis, the first pharmaceutical company set to achieve 100% renewable electricity through virtual PPAs; IKEA, which has committed to becoming climate positive by 2030; or market-leading IT companies that have committed to use 100% carbon-free energy 24/7.
This year has seen more European companies considering corporate renewable PPAs as a competitive form of electricity sourcing than ever before, with 80 new PPAs signed in 2020 in Europe compared to less than 60 in 2018.
But regulatory bottlenecks remain. With the assistance of a wide range of experts and business leaders, the RE-Source Platform is asking policymakers to facilitate PPAs in Europe by:
Constructing a European regulatory framework fit for the future for PPAs at EU level and removing barriers at EU and national level to ensure the growth of corporate renewable energy PPAs in Europe; Improving the safeguards for the implementation of enabling frameworks for corporate renewable energy PPAs in the National Energy and Climate Plans; Ensuring a robust system for certification and tracking of renewable-based electricity to increase investment, transparency levels and the information contained in guarantees of origin. Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, says: “This difficult year has shown the strength and resilience of renewables, and despite market contractions in many sectors, corporate PPAs have continued their rapid growth in Europe. Future-looking businesses can help usher in a new era of energy sourcing and contribute to the EU’s plan to reach climate neutrality by 2050. RE-Source 2020 gathers leading figures of the energy transition and corporates who are paving the way for 100% renewables-based electricity.”
Giles Dickson, WindEurope CEO says: “Energy-intensive industries used not to like renewables. They saw us as expensive and worried we’d mess up the energy system with our ‘intermittency’. Now they’re knocking on our doors to help them decarbonise. They see renewables are cheap and increasingly reliable. And they see that corporate PPAs help them lock in their energy costs. So we’re seeing more and more PPAs, even this year.”
Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, says: “275 of the world’s most influential companies have now made the RE100 commitment, to use 100% renewable electricity across their global operations. Together, these companies have electricity demand equivalent that of Italy. RE-Source 2020 provides an important meeting-place where the future’s energy leaders will discuss how to to turn these commitments into action and investment in Europe’s 21st century energy systems.”
Jake Oster, Head of Energy & Environment Policy, EMEA, of Amazon Web Services, says: “At Amazon, we’ve pledged to run our operations on 100% renewable energy by 2025. We are looking forward to RE-Source 2020, to share ideas, and to work together to bring more renewable energy online to address the threat of climate change.”
Mariana Heinrich, Director, Energy, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), says: “In spite of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are doubling down on commitments and actions to decarbonize their electricity consumption. Corporate renewable PPAs have proven to be a flexible and resilient method for procuring
renewable electricity – weathering strong market movements. This year’s RE-Source 2020 conference comes at an important moment for business leaders to continue to show confidence in corporate renewable sourcing by delivering increasingly larger shares of renewable electricity for their businesses.”
Alexis Manuel, Green Power Solutions of Engie, says: “I am proud that ENGIE is pioneering the renewable energy trend globally by offering our customers tailored, innovative and cost-effective PPAs to accelerate the transition towards a carbon neutral world. The RE-Source Event allows us to meet other like-minded businesses and to further these ambitions with buyers and suppliers from across Europe and beyond and is an invaluable opportunity for building important connections.”
Brian Denvir, European Energy Market Lead of Google, says: “Google is excited to be participating in RE-Source 2020 – we look forward to engaging with other clean energy buyers and suppliers on how Google and others can work towards achieving 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy.”
Carsten Poppinga, Senior Vice President of Statkraft says: “Statkraft understands that renewable energy cannot be part of the solution to tackle the climate crisis – it must be the solution. The annual RE-Source Events are a valuable and unique opportunity for all relevant parties to meet and discuss business opportunities for the corporate sector to
support their respective sustainability targets while at the same time making a difference in fighting this crisis together.”
Colin Spain, Renewable Energy Manager, Facebook, says: “We are continuing to support and work with all our partners to achieve our target of 100% renewables in 2020, our net zero target in 2030 and to help make a sustainable economy a reality. We look forward to talking to partners, making new connections, and working together to continue to strengthen the renewable energy market.”