First-of-its-kind purchase helps scale new, high-impact projects in Southeast Asia, Brazil, India, and sub-Saharan Africa that advance a just and inclusive energy transition
- Eight-year contract enables Salesforce to maintain its renewable energy commitment and delivers clean energy access in regions highly dependent on fossil fuels
- Salesforce purchase will help unlock an estimated $65 million of investments in new solar capacity and is expected to avoid over 50,000 tonnes of CO² emissions annually
Salesforce today announced it will purchase 280,000megawatts (MWh) of distributed renewable energy certificates from small, distributed energy projects over the next eight years to accelerate clean electricity access in emerging markets, and help maintain its commitment to match 100% of the electricity it uses with renewables.
Salesforce has contracted with Powertrust, an aggregator of high-impact renewables around the world, and will leverage Distributed Renewable Energy Certificates (D-RECs) – an innovative financial mechanism that enables organisations to accelerate deployment of capital for small-scale, distributed renewable projects – to drive this new clean energy supply.
Today, more than 750 million people lack access to basic electricity, while 2 billion more suffer from inadequate and unreliable access. Distributed renewable energy projects can provide much needed access to electricity and help reduce emissions in communities around the globe. However, emerging countries are largely excluded from corporate purchasing for a number of factors, including the difficulty of aggregating large numbers of small-scale projects.
“Almost 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 decarbonisation for Salesforce and co-author of the More than a Megawatt report, Salesforce. “Small, decentralised 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.”
A minigrid developed and operated by Hamara Grid that serves a community in Nagaland, eastern India.
Photo credit: Hamara Grid
Salesforce purchase provides critical social and environmental benefits
Salesforce’s D-RECs purchase will focus on procuring projects in non-traditional markets, delivering social and environmental benefits to communities. Potential projects within this portfolio include:
- Brazil: A project that aims to replace old diesel generators with a solar-powered microgrid for a remote community along the Amazon River, reducing fuel consumption by more than 50% and benefitting around 1,000 people.
- India: A solar-powered microgrid in Nagaland, an eastern state in India, where an isolated mountain community will receive electricity for the first time. In addition to initial energy access, the community will receive training on how to use the energy productively, such as for operating rice hullers.
- Sub-saharan Africa: A solar and storage installation at a hospital that will help improve electricity reliability while controlling rising electricity costs. The system will power ventilators, organ support equipment, and operating rooms. Moreover, 30-40% of the direct jobs created by these projects will be assigned to women.
- Southeast Asia (7,500 MWh): A solar microgrid in the Borneo region of Malaysia, which is home to 72% of rural Malaysians who lack access to electricity. The project will pair a solar system with a micro-hydro installation to provide reliable power.
“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 maximising social impact.”
These projects will be located in schools, hospitals, public service facilities, or in disadvantaged communities and deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals outcomes aligned to climate resilience (goals 9 and 11), universal energy access (goal 7), gender equality (goal 5).
“Sustainability is a core value for us at Salesforce and we are always looking for ways to drive meaningful change across the world,” said Sujith Abraham, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Salesforce ASEAN. “There continues to be a reliance on non-renewable energy sources in many communities in Southeast Asia as energy demands from economic growth race ahead of policies in the region. Through our long-term investment in D-RECs, Salesforce is making clean energy available to communities in this region in a sustainable and accessible way. We look forward to seeing the benefits of this project in Borneo, Malaysia and the rest of the world.”
Significant financing needed in emerging countries to achieve equitable access to electricity
To reach global net zero emissions, annual investments in clean energy need to expand in emerging countries to $1 trillion by 2030 – a 3x increase from existing levels. This will require mobilising billions of dollars per year toward new clean energy infrastructure in emerging markets to ensure equitable access to electricity.
As part of this global net zero focus, Salesforce also joined nine other leading companies in launching the Emission First initiative. This initiative calls for accounting standards to shift to allow corporate procurements to look beyond traditional markets like North America and Europe and focus on decarbonisation in regions where the world needs it the most.