In the last few days, both Dong Energy and Google made 100 percent renewable energy announcements. Google’s was an update saying that next year it will have renewable energy for all of its data centres. Dong Energy announced it had divested from all its oil and gas interests.
Driving down energy use and reducing dependence on outsourced energy supply has been happening for a while now. The concept of going “100 percent renewable [electricity]” has been an influential industry movement in the last two or three years.
It is common knowledge that renewable energy provides a much needed carbon reduction for the environment, among many other economic, social and environmental benefits beyond the scope of this article.
But what is the business benefit for Google and Dong Energy? Cost saving.
Henrik Poulsen, Chief Executive Officer of Dong Energy, is quoted in Eco-Business on 10 October saying “green energy is now cheaper than black energy”. This coming from an energy company is important. If it is cheaper for them to produce, it should be cheaper for electricity retailers to buy, meaning it should be cheaper for business consumers. If it is not, there is “something up” with the retailer, and unfortunately this is a common frustration for procurement teams seeking to renegotiate better electricity deals.
Referencing Google’s 2017 Environmental Report, Inhabitat’s 12 October article talks of Google’s ambitions to bring energy production in-house. To ensure it gets that cost saving, Google is cutting out the middle and getting cheap green energy with its own generator, the Tellenes Wind Farm in Norway. Its procurement teams do not need to worry about electricity retailers as much, they are bypassing the supply chain.
Inspired by what is possible? Here are some things you can do:
- Revisit your electricity contract, the proportion of green to black energy and how everything is priced. With how quickly wholesale pricing had changed, it is a good chance that you could get a better deal.
- Explore how you could generate electricity without relying on your supplier. From as grand-scale as Google’s own wind farm, to a building cogeneration plant or solar power system. It does not need to be on your premises either, that is a more creative option.
- Reduce energy consumption in the first place with energy efficiency initiatives.