Danish wind turbine manufacturing giant Vestas has joined The Climate Group and CDP’s RE100 campaign with several years of 100% renewable electricity already under its belt, in a move that is aimed at influencing policy and spurring market change.
It might come as a surprise to some that Vestas is not already a member of RE100 — the business initiative created by The Climate Group and CDP designed to unite and spur companies around the world to transition their businesses to 100% renewable electricity. The company is one of the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturers which is repeatedly in the news for significant onshore and offshore wind orders, and even though Vestas has not been a member of RE100 it has nevertheless been sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources since 2013 — which means that every Vestas wind turbine since then has been built using 100% renewable power.
“The private sector is increasingly committed to meeting the challenges of climate change through the use of renewable energy, and so is Vestas,” said Morten Dyrholm, Group Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs, Vestas Wind Systems. “We pioneered the wind industry by building the first wind turbine, and four decades later we are manufacturing wind turbines that produce energy at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuels.”
“We set our first renewable electricity target back in 2010 and two years later we decided to increase that target to 100%,” Dyrholm continued. “The target was reached in 2013. This is done by sourcing renewable electricity where available, primarily through local renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) or with Vestas-owned wind power plants, such as our test turbines in Denmark. As our operations and electricity consumption grows, our commitment is to stay at 100%.”
In other words, Vestas essentially manufactures wind turbines using electricity generated from wind turbines.
Vestas’ decision to join RE100 was twofold — revealing a public commitment to remain sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as helping to influence more ambitious renewable energy targets and a policy framework for Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) that spurs and enables more renewable energy in the energy mix.
“Vestas is already using 100% renewable electricity across its own operations to create wind power infrastructure,” explained Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group. “Now the company is furthering that leadership by joining RE100, and calling for important policy changes that will enable more companies to plug into renewables too.”
“RE100 underlines our joint efforts to make renewable energy an easy choice for companies, because it’s the right thing to do for the planet, and because it makes economic sense,” added Morten Dryholm. “We are delivering the sustainable energy solutions but we also want to be part of the solution, which this commitment underlines. We hope this will inspire other companies in the sector.”
Specifically, Vestas believes that markets, infrastructure, and policies all need to reflect the new reality that renewable energy is not simply cost competitive with fossil fuels, but is actually as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels. As such, the company is actively calling for national and global policy changes that include the following:
- Accelerating the phase-out of coal power plants by putting a meaningful prce on carbon
- A redesign of power markets flexible enough to handle a large share of renewables
- Transparent and long-term regulatory frameworks, including targets for renewable energy, interconnectors and grid build-out
- Electrifiction of the heating, cooling and transport sector
As regards policymakers in the European Union — the specific government under which Vestas’ home operations are based — Vestas is seeking greater regulatory certainty in the EU energy sector, specifically recommending the following:
- A legally binding EU renewable energy target of at least 35% by 2030; translated into clear national benchmarks for Member States
- A European power market that rewards flexible electricity supply and demand
- No investment support for the most polluting power plants
- A robust governance framework for EU energy and climate goals
RE100 is similarly seeking regulatory clarity from European Union policymakers in an effort to open up Europe’s energy markets for corporate renewable energy buyers. RE100 and other supporters of such regulatory changes are not looking for renewable energy subsidies — as we’ve already highlighted, renewables are doing fine on their own — but rather, as Head of RE100, Sam Kimmins explained in August, “What we need is a clear, transparent and fair electricity market with long-term stability, that enables companies to purchase or generate renewable electricity for all of their operations in Europe.”
For Vestas, joining RE100 allows it a greater platform through which to spur and encourage regulatory and policy clarity that, while obviously providing economic benefits for the company, will more importantly open the way for greater adoption of renewable energy sources of all kinds and help drive the global low-carbon energy transition.
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