Technology giant IBM says it has achieved two major commitments four years ahead of schedule in its efforts to help combat climate change.
First, the company has surpassed its goal of procuring 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. IBM says it achieved 21.5% at year-end 2016 – which is enough to power about 60,000 homes for one year. Further, when IBM counts renewable electricity within the grid mix it receives, then 40.1% of the company’s electricity supply across its managed spaces came from renewable sources.
Second, IBM has surpassed its goal of reducing CO2 emissions associated with its energy consumption 35% by year-end 2020 against base year 2005 (adjusted for acquisitions and divestitures). Specifically, IBM achieved 38.1% at year-end 2016 – which is approximately equivalent to the emissions associated with the consumption of 1.8 million barrels of oil, according to the company.
IBM set these goals in February 2015 and subsequently assigned them to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a commitment by hundreds of companies demonstrating their support for action on climate change.
IBM says its latest accomplishments are the result of a decades-long effort throughout which the company has set and met aggressive CO2-reduction goals. In fact, by 2005, the company had already reduced CO2 emissions to 40% of its 1990 emissions.
Between 1990 and 2016, the company says it conserved a total of 7.2 million MWh of electricity – avoiding 4.4 million metric tons of CO2 emissions and saving over $600 million. The emissions avoidance is equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road for a year, IBM notes.
IBM adds it has made major investments in the use of weather models and analytic and cognitive capabilities to develop accurate forecasting tools for electricity demand, as well as solar and wind power generation. According to the company, these tools enable the better use of available renewable generation and more effectively integrate new capacity into the grid.
Specifically, in February, IBM and VELCO announced the creation of Utopus Insights, Inc., a new energy analytics company that provides open-source application programming interfaces for improved energy forecasting on the grid. IBM says new insights from situational forecasting and cognitive technologies provide a more accurate understanding of the amount of power available from renewable sources – in turn, reducing risks and costs associated with the electricity grid and enabling the widespread use of renewable energy.