Towards 100% Renewable Energy: Corporate Leadership in the Journey to a Circular Economy
Updated: May 25, 2019
CO2, Electricity and Cost Implication
Today, data centers consume an average of 470 TW of power each year in order to run effectively. That electricity comes mainly from thermal power plant, meaning that the CO2 emitted is high and therefore a problem. Additionally, it is important to acknowledge that 98% of Taiwan's electricity is imported and this has a cost implication.
RE100 Global Influence
RE100 is a collaborative campaign uniting influential businesses committed to 100% renewable energy. By 2050 they hope that 100% of global electricity will come from renewable energy. So far, they have on board over 136 members committed to this project, including companies such as, Apple, Google, Facebook and IKEA.
In 2014, members joined for ethical reasons. In 2017, members joined for economic reasons. We have seen renewable energy costs drop by 75% over the last 7 years, showing that the eco-friendly way is becoming the cheaper way.
How to Achieve 100% Renewable Energy?
Firstly, finding the best renewable energy source for the company/product. Secondly, signing electricity purchasing contracts, which enables companies to buy directly from other companies or governments that generate electricity through renewable energy sources.
A famous example is the collaboration of AkzoNobel, DSM, Google and Philips. Their contract regulates the purchase of electricity produced by offshore wind projects in the Netherlands. It demonstrated that it is feasible to sell your excessive electricity to others and therefore to use only electricity from renewable energy sources.
The highlight of the RE100 members’ goal of using only renewable energy is the fact that they are requesting their supply chains to follow in their steps. Therefore, Taiwan has a key role to play, as a global leader in the manufacturing components of computers and smart phones; it can set a standard, which other companies would want to follow.
Many renowned corporations are taking part in this initiative. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, shared that Apple insists on having their supply chains utilize renewable energy. UK Electricity and IKEA helps the general public in identifying companies that use only renewable energy within their supply chains.
Challenges of Renewable Energy
There are two main obstacles for the promotion of renewable energy. Knowledge: both the individuals and society are still not clear about renewable energy and it is RE100’s mission to assist them obtaining the needed technology and concept. Policy: our market mechanism is still old-fashioned with thermal power plant being dominant. However, with renewable electricity big-size electricity companies are no longer monopolies hence opening up the markets and competition.
Efforts and Collaborations
RE100 holds activities in EU countries and member states like Romania, the Netherlands and Ireland. Additionally, last year, Japanese enterprises deemed that using 100% renewable energy is impossible. However, RE100 have added 7 members from Japan. Their usage together takes up 2% of electricity demand in Japan.
Taiwan is necessary in fulfilling 100% renewable power utilization in the next 20 years to come. Just like the lunar programs in America, if we decide to take action right away, we are very likely to succeed!
*This is speech summary from the Link and Loop Conference which was edited and compiled by the Link and Loop team. It was written and reported with the best available knowledge from the talk. There may be information discrepancies. Please contact the speaker for clarifications.