ENGIE sees ‘groundswell’ towards renewables as businesses turn green

MANILA – French multinational energy player ENGIE said the global transition towards clean energy was seeing a “groundswell” as businesses themselves embrace renewables.

In the past, it was government regulators who were driving businesses and consumers towards renewable energy, said ENGIE president and CEO, Asia-Pacific Paul Maguire. 

But Maguire said that in the last few years “the conversation has changed.”

“What we find now is there’s a groundswell coming from people and businesses,” Maguire said in an exclusive interview with ANC’s The Boss. 

ENGIE had installed 1,800 megawatts of renewable energy capacity in the region in 2018. The French energy player was looking to install another 9,000 megawatts by 2021, Macguire said. 
 
“We’re finding that it’s becoming something that’s almost unstoppable now,” he said. 

He said that while more and more people were installing solar panels on their roofs, more and more businesses were also approaching ENGIE to help them achieve “sustainable energy outcomes.”

Company goals ranged from achieving a zero net energy consumption profile, purchasing energy from renewable sources and reducing their carbon footprint, Maguire said. 

Maguire said companies that install solar panels have seen savings of 10 to 30 percent in the energy bills. A lot of firms also choose renewable energy to send a message to their stakeholders that they have a “sustainability focus.” 

“They’re looking to green their company.”

Besides the shift to renewable energy, ENGIE is also seeking to profit from the drive towards energy efficiency. 

Maguire cited a recent project that ENGIE did with Filinvest where they installed a district cooling system, which is the largest in the Philippines, at the Northgate Cyberzone in Alabang, Muntinlupa. 

The Northgate facility, which serves BPOs and other businesses saw energy efficiency grow by 40 percent. 

ENGIE is also working with GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation to enhance the Mactan-Cebu International Airport’s energy efficiency through digital technologies, he said.

A report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said giant American conglomerate General Electric had lost a “simply staggering” $193 billion in just three years to 2018 after it misjudged the pace of the shift to renewables.

As the price of renewables fell in recent years, GE was left with billions in stranded fossil fuel-related assets as cheaper alternatives curbed industry demand for coal and gas.

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