In-depth: what is the RE100?
RE100 sees industry leaders commit to 100% renewable energy by 2050
The RE100 initiative, led by the Climate Change Group in conjunction with CDP, has set the goal of finding 100% renewable solutions to energy demands across a wide range of industries. 193 companies have committed to the goal, with many of them aiming to achieve this long before the 2050 deadline.
A list of their suggested methods can be found on the RE100 website:
- “Bringing together major companies committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity globally in the shortest possible timeline (by 2050 at the latest)”;
- “Setting the bar for corporate leadership on renewable electricity, holding members to account, and celebrating their achievements to encourage others to follow”;
- “Communicating the compelling business case for renewables to companies, utilities, market operators, policymakers and other key influencers”;
- “Highlighting any barriers to realizing the business and economic benefits of renewable electricity as reported by RE100 members”;
Since its launch at NYC Climate Week 2014, 193 companies across Australia, China, Europe, India and North America have joined the initiative. China’s Envision – an energy tech manufacturer – recently joined the initiative, setting the earliest 100% renewable goal of 2025. Japan is also seeing a large growth in its renewable energy ambitions as 20 companies called on the government to source 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, more than doubling its current goal of 22%. The proposal was made at an energy summit in Tokyo by the Japan Climate Leaders Partnership.
On this matter, Constant Alarcon, RE100 Campaign Manager of the Climate Group said:
“These companies realize that in order to remain competitive in a globalized economy, they must embrace a low carbon future. We are excited by the leadership demonstrated by these companies in today’s call for an ambitious 2030 renewables targets and efficient market mechanisms to help companies reach their RE100 commitment. By working hand-in-hand with the government, Japanese companies can drive greater demand for renewables and deliver the clean economy of tomorrow.”
Companies within the industrial and commercial sector are responsible for two-thirds of the worlds end-of-use of electricity. Through technologies such as wind turbines, solar PV and smart energy management systems, RE100 aims to change the face of the energy market and bring global industry towards zero carbon grids – in turn saving tens of millions of US dollars on electricity bills each year.
“When you’re using on-site renewables, you’re managing volatility in the price of your energy supply, you’re generating your own electrons and buying them from yourself rather than for retail price, so it’s cheaper.” Explained Jim Walker, Co-Founder of the Climate Group. “It just makes good business sense and it’s the right thing to do.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.