Written by Dina Karamarko
According to the latest WWF and Ceres report, 59% of the Fortune 100 and nearly two thirds of the Global 100 have set GHG emissions reduction commitments, renewable energy commitments, or both. Some even go a step further and establish their own energy company, like Apple, which recently made headlines with its Apple Energy – a subsidiary authorized to sell capacity and energy in wholesale energy markets. This supports the fact that large corporations are taking an active approach to energy management. Do you wonder why?
Energy fuels global economic activity. At the same time, volatile energy prices, growing energy demand, and climate change issues are shaping the current global agenda. The industrial sector is particularly exposed to energy, as it accounts for almost one third of total energy consumption. In order to remain productive and competitive, industry needs reliable and affordable energy. Thanks to recent technological developments, sustainable energy increasingly presents commercially viable options to meet industry’s energy requirements. But the challenge remains: How to find the appropriate balance between growing demand for energy and sustainability goals?
For more and more companies, sustainable energy – wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass –contributes to their strategic goals. More and more large corporations are turning to sustainable energy to power their operations. Companies are investing in sustainable energy because they believe it makes good business sense: sustainable energy helps to reduce long-term operating costs, diversifies energy supply and hedges against market volatility in traditional fuel markets. It also enables companies to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals and demonstrates leadership on broader corporate sustainability and climate commitments. On-site sustainable and distributed energy sources such as solar PV, combined heat and power are contributing to reduced carbon emission output. For some companies, sustainable energy from large-scale, off-site projects has also become attractive for financial sustainability as prices can be locked in for up to 20 years.
On the one hand, the natural disasters which have occurred over the past years have led the private sector to invest in more resilient infrastructure. On the other, rapidly falling battery prices are paving the way for a new and potentially cleaner way of maintaining an uninterrupted supply of power. The issues around baseload concerns and storage levels are widely discussed but it must be noted that reliability is not a function of individual generation technologies, but rather a function of the electricity system as a whole. Grid operators have been dealing with variability since the birth of electricity distribution – therefore the same principle can be applied to sustainable energy sources. Some grid operators are already successfully managing shares of variable energy. Without relying on battery storage, renewables produced 37% of Spain’s electricity last year. In Denmark, 41% of electricity demand was met with renewables, and it is expected that this percentage will increase to over 80% in 2016. Even the world’s 4th largest economy – Germany, was already at 30% last year. It should also be remarked that in these countries grid reliability has grown rather than dropped during this rapid build-up of renewable energy production.
E&C is dedicated to helping its client achieve their sustainability goals. Sustainability will be one of the topics addressed in our workshops during E&C’s Transatlantic Energy Conference, which will take place on Thursday September 22nd in Amsterdam and on Wednesday October 5th in Chicago. The workshop is the perfect introduction to the world of sustainable energy procurement, and is designed to help you find the best path for optimizing your sustainability efforts. Tailor-made sustainability strategies are the backbone of our sustainability services. Renewable energy has become more and more cost effective and companies are setting ever more ambitious goals to buy renewables. Our “technology scan” analysis can map out the most suitable technologies and geographical regions for pursuing your sustainability projects. Our workshop will also feature discussions on the development of environmental commodities trading, as well as monitoring and reporting. Let’s use this workshop as a platform to share knowledge and exchange experiences on both the challenges and vast opportunities of sustainable energy. Leading corporations are scaling up their energy management initiatives, so why would you wait any longer?
Missed our Transatlantic Energy Conference 2016?