RE100 initiative explained

By | 3 minute read | April 19, 2022

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Renewable Energy 100 (RE100) is a global corporate renewable energy initiative led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP aimed at getting the world’s most influential businesses, specifically those with annual electricity demand over 100 GWh, to commit to 100% renewable electricity and reach this target by 2050.

In order to achieve 100% renewable electricity, companies must match 100% of the electricity used across their global operations with electricity produced from renewable sources.

Renewable electricity can be sourced from the market or self-produced and can include solar, wind, biomass (including biogas), geothermal or hydropower. Procured renewable electricity can be directly purchased from generators and suppliers in the market, for instance through power purchase agreements. It can also include retail purchases and stand-alone “unbundled” energy attribute instruments.

Who is it for?

As highlighted above, RE100 is aimed at larger corporations with annual electricity demand of at least 100 GWh. However, exceptions can be made for companies with smaller consumption if they are a major player in their industry or a Fortune 1000 company, or if they are a key player in an RE100 priority region or sector.

Currently, over 350 companies are RE100 members having committed to going 100% renewable. Almost one-third of these companies are headquartered in the US, while over 60 are in Japan, and close to 50 are in the UK. At the sector level, more than one-third are from the services industry. Manufacturing is the next most represented industry with over 60 companies, while food and beverage is third with more than 30.

Key criteria for joining RE100

  • Public commitment to source 100% renewable electricity throughout entire operations, including any scope 1 emissions relating to generation of electricity by the company, all scope 2 emissions relating to company activities and the operations of businesses operating with the brand or company group.
  • Third party verification is required of consumption of renewable electricity and where necessary of generation and sales (e.g., Greene certification).
  • Companies must source renewable electricity from within the boundary of the market in which they are consuming the electricity. However, companies can exclude small loads (small offices, retail outlets) of electricity consumption up to 100 MWh/year, per market, from the RE100 target boundary in markets where it is not technically feasible for it to source renewable energy.
  • Companies must transparently report on progress annually via the RE100 Reporting Spreadsheet or the CDP climate change questionnaire.
  • Companies must agree not to undertake activities that will undermine the mission, such as political lobbying in support of fossil fuels over renewable energy production or increasing their holdings in fossil fuel assets.
  • Companies must join the campaign at the group level.

Credible claims under RE100

RE100 members must be able to show that they have a claim to use of unique renewable electricity production to meet all of their reported renewable electricity usage. This is typically done in the form of generation attributes such as Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), but contracts can also be used. The requirements for a credible RE usage claim are:

  1. Credible generation data
  2. Attribute aggregation
  3. Exclusive ownership (no double counting) of attributes
  4. Exclusive claims (no double claiming) on attributes
  5. Geographic market limitations of claims
  6. Vintage limitations of claims

What is the timescale and target requirement?

The minimum requirements and deadlines are:

  • 100% by 2050, with interim steps of at least:
  • 60% by 2030
  • 90% by 2040

Getting started with RE100

Becoming an RE100 member takes about 2-3 months for the application process to be completed. Membership approval follows an 8-step process:

  1. Check requirements—Companies should check the joining and technical requirements
  2. Express intent—Register company’s interest with RE100 team
  3. Check eligibility—The RE100 team will confirm whether the company meets the joining criteria
  4. Apply for membership—If accepted, the company will need to sign the Membership Agreement
  5. Application review—The company’s application will be assessed against the joining criteria
  6. Application decision—Application decision made. If accepted the company will receive membership benefits
  7. Plan announcement—Date of joining announcement will be agreed with Climate Group
  8. New member announcement—The company can announce membership through a press release or social media

Once accepted, RE100 members are free to develop their own roadmap to achieving 100% renewables.

Ultimately, if we are to reach a net-zero future, the biggest corporations will need to lead the way. RE100’s 300+ members consume more electricity combined than the entire United Kingdom annually. Currently, these members are sourcing about 45% of their electricity needs through renewable electricity. If they can fulfill their commitment, and the organization’s membership numbers can continue to grow, a huge leap forward will be made toward a carbon-neutral world.