Increasing renewable electricity procurement

In October 2018, IBM established a second-generation renewable electricity procurement goal: source 55 percent of the electricity IBM consumes globally from renewable supplies by 2025. The amount includes both directly contracted and grid supplied renewable electricity.

We are working with IBM's energy providers to increase our procurement of renewable electricity to support our operations. We are also collaborating with a range of entities -- companies, utilities, energy retailers, and nongovernmental organizations -- to increase the portion of renewable electricity incorporated into the reliable grid electricity supply we depend on to run IBM operations.

IBM does not plan to use unbundled Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to achieve our goals. Unbundled RECs are an accounting mechanism used by other companies to claim GHG emissions reductions even though the renewable energy was generated in a different grid region than where these companies are using energy. Said another way, the companies do not physically consume those renewables but take credit for having helped fund renewable energy projects. At IBM, we believe that the use of unbundled RECs sends the wrong market signals and obfuscates the need for public policy and investments required to genuinely increase the amount of renewables in the grid and ensure reliable power delivery.

In 2017, IBM contracted with its utility suppliers to purchase approximately 779,000 MWh of renewable electricity, representing 22.9 percent of our global electricity consumption by IBM-managed locations. These purchases exceeded IBM's goal to purchase 20 percent of its electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, over and above the quantity of renewable electricity provided as part of the mix of electricity that we purchase from the grid. IBM avoided 275,000 MT of CO2 emissions through these purchases.

We purchased contracted renewable electricity in 20 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In March 2018, IBM finalized a power purchase agreement to acquire all of the electricity -- roughly 10,000 MWh per year -- generated by a 6-megawatt solar array to be constructed at IBM's Boulder, Colorado, facility. The array is expected to go into production by early 2019.

We procure renewable electricity generated from wind, large and small hydro, biomass, and solar installations around the globe. We report all of our contracted renewable electricity purchases -- whether from new or existing generation sources, "additional" or otherwise, without discriminating against large hydro installations -- and their associated CO2 avoidance. Our rationale is that all purchases signal to suppliers our desire for them to maintain and broaden their renewable electricity offerings. We value all economically accessible renewable generation sources and their availability from our utility suppliers.

Combining our contracted renewable electricity purchases and the amount of renewable electricity IBM received as part of the grid mix, 41.4 percent of our global electricity supply for IBM-managed locations was generated from renewable sources in 2017. The percentages of the electricity we consumed, both contracted and grid-supplied purchases that came from renewable sources were: Europe 67 percent, Latin America 63 percent, North America 28 percent, and Asia Pacific 18 percent.

For additional information, see:


2017 electricity sources at IBM-managed locations