Deloitte has released a new study:Moving organizational energy use toward 100% renewables—aspiration or destination? which analyzes the renewable energy commitments and carbon reduction efforts in each sector of American industry. And, while so much has been made of the commitments of tech giants like Apple and Google, a different industry has itself best positioned to lead the way into a renewable future.
The study finds that it is the healthcare industry which has the highest concentration of near-term renewable goals, with the most distant target year cited for a 100% goal being 2050. Moreover, the healthcare industry also most often reported goals to source a specific percentage of their electricity from renewables, with nearly 61% of respondents outlining such a goal. These goals are significant given the industry’s carbon footprint, as the healthcare industry also contributes 10% of U.S. carbon emissions and 9% of non-greenhouse gas air pollutants.
Deloitte shares that, in total, “45% of organizations surveyed cited commitments to increase renewable energy sources in their electricity consumption mix by a target year; nearly 25% cited having renewable procurement/generation goals.” For all the fuss that has been made, and with good reason, over corporate commitments to renewable energy in recent years, both of those statistics feel low, though not pessimistically low.
No, the pessimistically low statistic is the just 2% of organizations surveyed who responded that that they were specifically targeting 100% renewable power at some point in the future. It would seem that answer stems from the idea that for these corporations, cutting carbon emissions is a more immediate and targeted goal than going 100% renewable and will be more realistic to accomplish in the short-term.
This idea is reflected by Marlene Motyka, U.S. and global renewable energy leader and principal of Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics, who said of the survey:
While it is encouraging to see the progress being made by organizations across industry groups, where we are today is only the tip of the iceberg to achieving 100% renewable energy. There is a long way to go for those looking to utilize these resources to lower the carbon footprint of their operations. For many, 100% renewables will remain an aspiration unless more wind and solar energy is available and key policy initiatives and technological advances are realized.
Ultimately, while long-term goals may not be at ideal levels yet, efforts to cut carbon and switch to renewable energy are being made in every industry, meaning that down the line it is more than likely that generation goals will reflect a commitment to renewables. Right now, corporations are loudly voicing that their main concern is cutting carbon emissions, and the data reflects that.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
I think that for society as a whole, individual businesses targeting 100% net renewable or carbon emission-free energy ON AVERAGE OVER A YEAR is still being too optimistic about business peers and renewable supply.
Businesses usually want 100% availability of power supplied on demand. (Unless your business is a utility that owns a hydro dam, then of course you can buy low and sell high based on solar and wind’s variable supply and demand).
A higher, perhaps even 200%, average energy generation to consumption ratio for each individual business or corporation (or even each individual, if possible) might get us close to the kind of societal targets we might want to see.
“Right now, corporations are loudly voicing that their main concern is cutting carbon emissions, and the data reflects that.”
There’s a lot of data that “suggests” often what the backer of the “poll” wanted the public to see. Organizations like Green Earth Appeal seem to be a “feel good” policy farm, rather than a min/max business model reflecting the industry move towards alternative energy as a way to control overhead on a monthly basis by getting rid of monthly electric bills. Often the C&I aspects of the power grid are subject to sliding rates, demand charges and this was well before solar PV and wind generation began to catch on. Walmart, Target, IKEA, and other big box stores have found that with a roof of solar PV panels, they can shed 20% to 40% a month on their electric bills. This allows more money for operations and business growth. Now energy storage systems are becoming part of that mix. The C&I sector will realize one day that energy storage can shift generated power for later use, get rid of demand charges and use the grid for off peak or super off peak charging of the energy storage system for the next business day’s energy demands.
The public announcements about climate change seem to be more about virtue signalling than actual intent – like the focus on incentivising reusable shopping bags to carry out stuff that’s 1/4 non reusable packaging.
Induatry will only ‘wake up’ to the cost savings of renewable energy and storage when there is a positive ROI. Right now the storage systems are usually too expensive. A smaller shop air compressor with a larger tank, or a cooler that stores ice at night might be less expensive than electricity storage.
Regardless of whether the benefit of more renewables + storage will accrue to the end user or the utility, it will accrue to society as a whole.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.