U.S.-based technology firm Salesforce is acquiring 280,000 MWh worth of renewable energy which will be deployed across parts of South America, Asia and Africa.
The 8-year power purchase agreement is intended to match 100 percent of Salesforce’s energy use for that period.
The focus is on investing heavily in emerging economies and areas where access to basic electricity is limited by poverty and other issues. Salesforce is acquiring the renewables generated in Brazil, India, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, according to the company.
The company likely will not receive that energy directly in most cases, but the investment spurs development and opportunities for the developing economies.
“Nearly 95% of corporate renewable energy purchases today take place in North America and Europe. We need to ensure the rest of the world isn’t left behind,” said Megan Lorenzen, who leads power sector decarbonization for Salesforce and is co-author of the More than a Megawatt report. “Small, decentralized renewable energy projects can, in many cases, deliver greater impact than large utility-scale facilities, delivering higher emissions impact and positively transforming lives and communities around the globe.”
The renewable energy generated into the grids will offset some 59,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that clean power investments need to grow by $1 trillion over this decade, three times the current pace of net-zero funding going on currently. As an extension of its public commitment to carbon-free goals, Salesforce has joined the Emissions First Partnership that also includes companies such as Amazon, General Motors, Hannon Armstrong, Intel, Heineken, Meta and Rivian.
The rise in corporate voluntary renewable energy procurements presents an unparalleled opportunity for corporates to influence the transition to a resilient, zero carbon energy economy,” Miranda Ballentine, CEO of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, said as quoted in the “More than a Megawatt” report authored by Lorenzen and her Salesforce colleague Max Scher.
Salesforce will work with renewables aggregator Powertrust to help achieve the projects. The long-term investment is achieved through distributed renewable energy certificates (D-RECs) which are a mechanism to mobilize capital for deployment of small-scale, distributed energy resources such as solar and storage microgrids and community solar-storage projects.
“Salesforce was instrumental in the development of this high-impact procurement approach,” said Nick Fedorkiw, CEO, Powertrust. “However, the impact of this commitment goes far beyond Salesforce's purchase. Companies across the globe have an appetite for high-impact renewable energy purchases and can't find the supply they need. Now, as proven by Salesforce, companies can open up new sources of supply while maximizing social impact.” Among the emerging market renewable projects being achieved through the Salesforce investment include a solar power microgrid in a remote Brazilian community along the Amazon River.
In India, another solar-powered microgrid in Nagaland will give many villagers there a first-ever connection to electricity.
The community also will receive training on how to use the energy for work such as operating rice hullers.