Corporate sourcing of renewables key to meeting Europe’s 32% renewable energy target

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Europe has set a target that 32% of its energy should come from renewables by 2030, up from 17.5% today. Corporates are and can play an even bigger role in meeting this target. Thousands of key corporate buyers – including from the steel, aluminium, ICT, and chemicals industries – and clean energy suppliers, are meeting in Amsterdam at the RE-Source 2019 event – for a two-day conference to discuss how to accelerate efforts to source more renewable energy.

The last weeks have seen an abundance of significant solar and wind sourcing agreements from major corporates around the world. Google announced its largest corporate renewable purchase in history, including nearly 800 MW of new renewable energy in Europe. Amazon recently unveiled plans to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

The Airports Council International (ACI Europe) also announced at the event a new partnership with the RE-Source Platform to accelerate the clean energy transition of the airport industry and help it achieve its 2050 net zero commitment. In addition, the RE-Source Platform received a €500,000 grant from Google.org to fund further the development of new renewable energy purchasing models, provide training and resources for consumers, and enable more widespread access to clean power.

Corporate sourcing of renewables has risen rapidly in Europe, with 7.5 GW of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) deals signed over the past five years, and 1.6 GW worth of deals in 2019 alone. More European countries are engaging in PPA deals: 13 countries have inked PPAs in 2019 so far. Commercial and industrial on-site corporate sourcing accounted for 3.4 GW in 2018 and is expected to grow considerably in the next decade.

Industrial and commercial consumers account for more than half of Europe’s energy consumption today. Powering these corporate consumers with renewable energy could deliver both significant reductions in CO2 emissions and make European industries more competitive due to the rapidly falling cost of renewables.

According to a recent study from the European Commission, if EU-based corporate buyers committed to sourcing renewable electricity to meet 30% of their total electricity demand by 2030, the EU renewable energy sector would generate more than €750bn in gross added value and over 220,000 new jobs.

Governments can play their part in facilitating more companies to source renewables, by removing administrative hurdles for corporate renewable PPAs, and on-site and direct investments in renewable energy generation that exist throughout Europe. Under the new Renewable Energy Directive, European governments now have the duty to remove these barriers. Currently, only two of the draft National Energy and Climate Plans for 2030 even mention PPAs and none comply with the agreed legislation.