Energy group Envision has become the first mainland Chinese company to join the RE100 global corporate clean-energy initiative since the Paris Accord, accelerating plans at the Shanghai-headquartered multinational to be 100% renewables-powered by 2025.
The company – which last year supplied 25% of the turbines sold in its home market, putting it in second-place behind Goldwind in the country’s OEM league table – aims to meet the target through a combination of wind and solar power and “smart energy management” at its manufacturing facilities.
“The mission of Envision is to solve the challenges for a sustainable future for human beings,” said Envision CEO Zhang Lei, who called on compatriot companies to “join RE100”.
Yuming Hui, China director of the Climate Group, which runs the RE100 with not-for-profit body CDP, added: “It’s a great step forward for Envision to lead by example. We hope it inspires thousands more Chinese companies to take action in their own operations – from buying certificates to installing PV and wind turbines, there are solutions available now.”
Envision expects to cut “hundreds of thousands of tonnes” of greenhouse gas emissions each year from its operations through the shift to an all-renewables power supply portfolio and at the same time “save tens of millions of US dollars on its electricity bills”.
Originally launched as turbine OEM, Envision is heavily invested in digital and ‘internet of things’ technologies, and has become a major supplier of energy management software to third-party plant operators as part of its ambition to be a leader of the global energy transition.
In 2017 the Chinese group forged an alliance with Microsoft for digital energy technologies, and in August 2018 made its biggest move yet into storage with an agreement to buy the lithium-ion battery business of Japanese automotive giant Nissan.
Though China is the global pacesetter in utility-scale wind and solar power deployment, buying renewable energy-based power supply has not been readily available to companies in China.
As well as joining the RE100, Envision said it would “actively participate in local renewable electricity trading pilots, and work with the industry to promote China's establishment of a renewable electric trading market that is in line with international standards”.
In 2017, the Climate Group became a founding member of the Green Electricity Consumption Cooperative Organisation, to help increase corporate uptake of renewable power in China.
The membership list at the RE100 now includes more than 190 commercial and industrial companies – a sector which currently accounts for around two-thirds of the world’s ‘end-of-use’ electricity – committed to 100% renewable power for their operations, including Google, Lego and Nike.
Corporations are set to sign a record level of clean energy power contracts in 2019 after year-on-year growth in a first half dominated by US deals, according to a recent report from BloombergNEF.