By mid-century DIY giant Kingfisher – owner of the B&Q and Screwfix brands among others – wants all its stores to produce more energy than they consume.
Business Green 9th April 2019 read more »
Amazon has been accused of abandoning a much-publicised goal of running its datacentres on 100% renewable energy – instead focusing its attention on winning business from the oil and gas industry. According to a Greenpeace report released earlier this year, some of Amazon’s most important datacentres in the US state of Virginia, where the company has committed to building its second HQ, are powered by only 12% renewable energy. Across the company as a whole, Amazon reached 50% renewable usage in 2018, and has not issued any updates since. This week, a report from the tech news site Gizmodo suggested one reason for the slowdown was Amazon’s increasing focus on bringing on board large oil and gas companies as Amazon Web Service customers.
Guardian 9th April 2019 read more »
Juliet Davenport: Last month one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies made its latest move into the UK’s electricity market. Shell Energy became the new name for First Utility, a company it had acquired over a year ago. The rebranding forms part of Shell’s wider ambitions to become a major player in the power sector, which it views as a key driver towards decarbonisation. Along with the name change, Shell swiftly placed its entire customer base onto a ‘100 per cent renewable’ electricity tariff. This attention on the electricity market is welcome. A company of Shell’s size, with a reported annual expenditure budget of $25bn, could make serious investments into renewable energy. However, more evidence of change is needed before we can fully embrace them as a renewables champion. For example, take the claim to now supply its 700,000 customers with 100 per cent renewable power. First Utility’s latest fuel mix reveals only 3.7 per cent of its supply as renewable, which suggests procuring the extra 96.3 per cent wasn’t too difficult. Unfortunately, Shell does not have to contract with any renewable generators to claim their electricity is renewable. If they had done, as active participants in this market, we would have expected to have come up against them for contracts, which we have not. Instead, the company will buy the certificates, called REGOs, originally designed to provide a ‘guarantee of origin’ for the power. These certificates can be traded without purchasing the electricity they relate to, at a very cheap rate of around 35p per megawatt hour. Shell’s new ‘100 per cent renewable’ offering to consumers is, therefore, the same brown power from last week, plus some cheap certificates. A surprising act of cost-and-corner-cutting for a corporation now apparently committed to renewables and which made £16bn in profit last year. But more importantly, this is not what renewable generators need to secure funding and build future generation. Shell is entering a saturated market of over 60 energy suppliers. More and more of these companies are claiming to be providing 100 per cent renewable power, when in fact they are operating the same way, with little to no direct contracts with renewable generators. It can be hard for both domestic and business customers to know the difference, but asking a few simple questions can make things clearer. For example, has the supplier invested in developing, or owning, renewable projects? Or has it shown evidence of holding power purchase agreements with a range of different independent renewable generators? If the answer is no to both of these then their renewable credentials are in doubt.
Business Green 10th April 2019 read more »