This week, 800 corporate renewable energy buyers, developers and stakeholders gathered in Amsterdam at RE-Source 2018, Europe's leading corporate renewable energy procurement event.
Every year, RE-Source brings together key players from the energy sector to work towards moving the number of active corporate renewable energy buyers from 100 to 100,000. Last year saw the inaugural RE-Source event in Brussels. This year, the corporate renewable energy market came back bigger and better, hosting twice the number of delegates, workshops and networking events at a new location in Amsterdam. WBCSD participated as one of the four founding organizations of the RE-Source Platform.
The event kicked off with positive stories of market acceleration from last year.
Bruce Douglas from SolarPower Europe highlighted that 2018 was a record-breaking year for PPAs in Europe: the first corporate renewable PPAs were signed in the steel and automotive sectors and the largest in the IT sector.
The Energy Report 2019 Preview, published by the RE-Source Platform, showed a positive shift in opinion on corporate renewable sourcing: 89% of surveyed companies agreed that companies have a leading role to play in driving the renewable transition and 92% of companies sourcing renewables named cost reduction as the main driver. Both statistics suggest the market is set to accelerate growth.
Over the two-day event, panels tackled corporate sourcing business models, markets and regulation, bankability, standardization, risk mitigation and financial innovation. The discussions were diverse and the topics in depth, but four key messages shone through:
Companies are committed to pushing forward corporate renewable sourcing
On Tuesday the RE-Source Partners launched a declaration signed by over 100 organizations. The declaration showed ambition to drive forward the energy transition through corporate renewable sourcing and called for support from policymakers to ease progress.
Coupled with the recent news from RE100 that over 150 companies have committed to source 100% renewable electricity, corporates are presenting a clear message on the direction of energy procurement.
There is an opportunity to shape the energy sourcing policy landscape
Countries are drafting National Climate and Energy Plans and EU Member States will need to identify and address barriers to corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
Similarly, Member States must decide how to implement the new EU Renewable Energy Directive in relation to corporate sourcing. Several speakers repeated a call for action for RE-Source delegates to get involved in these discussions with their national governments.
The PPA market needs simplification and innovation to realize growth
Energy buyers signed 2GW of corporate renewable PPA capacity in 2018, but this is still small scale compared to full market potential.
To expand the market from 100 to 100,000 corporate renewable energy buyers, simplification of the PPA contracting process is needed to open up the market to small and medium sized companies. Large corporates must retain the flexibility to innovate and carve new pathways for others, especially for projects with unusual financial, geographical or technology structures.
There is confidence in the face of market challenges
The buzz across the event was optimistic as the conference was a reminder of the sheer scale of interest in the topic and the diversity of players working to accelerate the market.
Each session discussed highly complex challenges and yet the players are confident in their ability to break these down. The answers may not be straightforward, but there are innovative, fascinating approaches to accelerating the corporate renewable PPA market.
All in all, RE-Source 2018 was a showcase of the impressive progress that the market has shown so far, and a strong reminder of the combined activities of multiple stakeholder groups to keep bounding forwards towards that 100,000 goal.
Watch video clips from RE-Source 2018 here.