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American businesses choose renewables

DAVOS: January 24, 2017. Coincident with Donald Trump's move to restart the Keystone XL and Dakota access fossil fuel pipelines, a report says the U.S. is now consuming 6.8 Terrawatts (TWh) of electricity per annum from renewable energy sources - more than any other country.

To put this number into perspective, one TWh is the equivalent of one billion Megawatts. One Megawatt equals 1,000 Kilowatts. The average American household consumes 11,500 kilowatts per year – equal to burning 4.7 tons of coal or sourcing from a wind turbine for one day.

RE100RE100, a collaborative initiative of the world's most influential companies committed to 100 percent renewable power, says the record for unsubsidized power from solar is now below US$30 per megawatt hour (MWh). By comparison, generation costs of most coal-fired power plants range between US$35 and US$60 per MWh, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

RE100 says its members, who include Apple, Microsoft, BMW, Tata Motors, Unilever, H&M, HP and Goldman Sachs, are now creating demand for approximately 107 TWh of renewable power annually; approximately the same amount of electricity consumed by The Netherlands.

Paul Simpson, CEO of the Climate Disclosure Project that leads RE100 with the Climate Group said: "From the U.S. to China, the global energy landscape is transforming before our eyes. The RE100 report shows this change is in no small part thanks to an increasing number of corporations demanding renewable energy. This powerful market signal should embolden investors to shift capital and spur policy makers to ensure an enabling environment to meet the growing appetite for renewable power."

General Motors, another RE100 member and one of Donald Trump's automotive 'America First' targets, reports a US$35 million annual saving from the use of renewables and expects the figure to go much higher.

Three new members joined the group during the World Economic Forum last week: Gatwick Airport, Danske Bank and Dutch health technology company Royal Philips. Speaking at Davos, president and CEO Frans van Houten commented: "We are the first generation that can really feel the impact of climate change and we believe we are the last generation that can do something about it."

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