Analysis conducted by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has flagged a growing trend globally and in the UK for companies to source renewable power, either through a purchase agreement or through self-generating.
As of early 2018, companies sourced renewable electricity in 75 countries either through power purchase agreements (PPAs), utility green procurement programmes or unbundled energy attribute certificates (EACs) (see chart).
Active corporate sourcing of renewable electricity reached 465TWh in 2017, representing approximately 3.5% of total electricity demand in the Commercial and Industrial sector, and 18.5% of total renewable electricity demand in the Commercial and Industrial sector.
Of 2,410 companies analysed, about 200 companies reported that more than half of the electricity they consumed was sourced from renewables, while 50 companies reported a share of 100%.
The research also illustrated how companies participating in the practice coming from various sectors. By volume, the majority of renewable electricity was consumed in the materials sector while the highest shares of renewable electricity consumption are found in the financial (24%) and information technology (12%) sectors.
Despite this progress though, IRENA found that ambition and deployment must rise substantially to meet climate goals. At the current trajectory, corporate global demand for renewable electricity will grow to “at least 2150TWh by 2030 and 3800TWh by 2050”, but this represents only 20% of the required renewable electricity demand in the Commercial and Industrial sector in 2050.
IRENA Director General Adnan Z. Amin commented: “While the pace of renewable energy deployment in recent years has been remarkable, IRENA estimates that it has to be accelerated six-fold to meet climate goals and achieve the necessary decarbonisation of the energy sector by 2050. Engaging the private sector is key, and sourcing renewable energy is a signal of its commitment in this respect.”
This report well illustrates that there are many routes to securing low-carbon power supplies and this trend is set to continue to become more prevalent.