21 April 2017

Corporate demand to drive the renewable energy credits market

A significant surge in demand for renewable energy certificates (RECs) is anticipated, following an increasing number of major corporations committing to ambitious environmental targets.  

RECs are tradable and non-tangible commodities that enable energy consumers to verify that their electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

Speaking at the RECS Market Meeting in Amsterdam last month, Tom Lindberg, Managing Director of renewable energy solutions provider Ecohz, said: “Since COP21 in Paris in 2015, the big corporate companies have moved centre stage in the climate and energy agenda. Big businesses are now setting more ambitious targets than cities or governments. This is about making collective change.”

Following the Paris Agreement, a number of initiatives have been collaborating with leading corporations to establish sustainability targets.

With corporate energy consumers accounting for about 50 per cent of global electricity demand, these initiatives are crucial in facilitating the transition to renewable energy.

The RE100 is a global, collaborative initiative of influential businesses committed to using 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Officially launched at New York Climate Week back in 2014, the initiative now has 88 members – including global brands such as Apple, Unilever and the BMW Group.

Sam Kimmins, Head of Corporate Campaign at RE100, said: “By grouping together, these huge corporates can punch above their weight and send a positive market signal to producers”.

Jared Bralawsky, Secretary General at RECS International, said: “What we are seeing is that the end users, the big corporations and citizens are driving the low carbon transition. Now, our work is more about supporting the consumers’ choice: the consumer is looking for reliable renewable energy procurement options around the world.”

RECs are vital in achieving corporations’ ambitious renewable targets – currently accounting for 54 to 59 per cent of voluntary demand for green power procurement.

However, advocates stress that more needs to be done in the way of policy to accommodate the transition to renewables.

Lindberg said: “If we’re serious about building this marketplace, then there is much more to be done in terms of influencing policy, getting active with industry initiatives and dialogues with stakeholders. We must not underestimate the power of the tsunami that is coming”.

Kimmins added: “We are signalling to policymakers the opportunity to bring corporate capital on board. There is a lot of innovation and investment going on – this is creating change in the market and the political sphere, but we need to nurture this developing market to enable achieve this promise” 

Hear about RECs and other tools to transform energy systems at the Innovate4Climate, Finance and Markets week which will be held in Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona, on 22-25 May 2017, organised by the World Bank Group. 

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