Amid talk of environmental deregulation in Washington, the world's largest companies are not backing down from ambitious renewable energy initiatives. Eighty-four companies have joined RE100, which launched at Climate Week NYC 2014 and describes itself as "a collaborative, global initiative of influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity, working to massively increase demand for—and delivery of—renewable energy." By signing on, these companies have stated a goal to be 100 percent powered by renewable energy in the future.
Large tech firms have made an especially strong showing on the list. Microsoft has been 100 percent powered by renewable energy—through a mix of power purchase agreements and purchases of renewable energy certificates ("RECs")—since 2014. The company is now working to increase its direct power purchase agreements by "support[ing] the construction of new renewable electricity projects near [its] data centers and facilities," which would decrease its reliance on RECs to meet the 100 percent renewable target.
Google joined RE100 in December 2015, pledging to "triple its purchase of renewable energy by 2025," with a "long term goal to power all of its operations with renewables." The company has moved much faster than expected, however, and announced in a December 2016 white paper that it is on track to reach its 100 percent renewable target—through a "combination of direct purchases from renewable developers and through partnerships with utilities providers"—in 2017. In addition to environmental concerns, Google has stated that for them, the decision is a smart business move, given the falling price of renewable energy and the protection renewable energy offers from fuel-price volatility.
Renewable energy initiatives are not limited to the tech sector. Companies from such diverse sectors as retail, banking, and pharmaceuticals have signed on to RE100. Last September, Wells Fargo stated a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable power by 2017. Wells Fargo sees the financial sector, in particular, as having an important role to play in the development of renewable energy: "As an example of the role financial institutions can play, since 2012, Wells Fargo has invested in and financed more than $52 billion in renewable energy, clean technology, 'greener' buildings, sustainable agriculture and other businesses that seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change. And in 2015, projects owned in whole or in part by Wells Fargo generated 10 percent of wind and solar photovoltaic energy produced in the U.S."
Other companies have thrown their support behind global environmental policy initiatives. In November 2016, Johnson & Johnson joined hundreds of companies in signing an open letter "to elected US Leaders to strongly support: 1. Continuation of low-carbon policies to allow the US to meet or exceed our promised national commitment and to increase our nation's future ambition; 2. Investment in the low carbon economy at home and abroad in order to give financial decision-makers clarity and boost the confidence of investors worldwide; and 3. Continued US participation in the Paris agreement, in order to provide the long-term direction needed to keep global temperature rise below 2°C."