Platform to create a global market for distributed renewable energy


South Pole in partnership with Positive.Capital Partners joins several global philanthropies and international financial institutions to launch a platform that creates a global market for distributed renewable energy (DRE). The coalition behind this platform, the D-REC Initiative, is led by South Pole and Positive.Capital Partners and is supported by the Shell Foundation, Good Energies Foundation, EnAccess Foundation, and Signify Foundation.

With around 840 million people still without access to electricity and over US$500 billion required annually until 2040 to meet growing electricity demand, the mission of the D-REC Initiative is to channel climate finance from the private sector, to address this critical gap. By connecting corporate finance and sustainability ambition with small-scale distributed renewable energy projects, the D-REC platform provides the means to accelerate new investment and results-based climate finance in distributed renewable energy globally.

“The private sector has been leading the energy transition in developed markets, driving the deployment of clean energy through investment and clean energy procurement activities. The D-REC Initiative now provides global corporations and climate investors new tools to extend and accelerate the energy transition in emerging markets, delivering clean energy where it’s needed most”, says Paul Needham, Managing Director at Positive.Capital Partners.

Companies using the new D-REC platform will be able to go above and beyond their corporate renewable energy goals or RE100 commitments. By purchasing third-party certified D-RECs, companies can extend their renewable energy engagement to emerging economies. In practice, their purchase of D-RECs helps mobilise new sources of capital that expedite the deployment of distributed renewable energy projects – bringing energy access to communities living off the grid in rural areas.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are already widely used by corporate buyers of renewable energy to make third party-verifiable claims about the source of their electricity. D-RECs operate in a similar manner, with three key differences: D-RECs will apply to distributed, small scale and off-grid renewables, be available in markets and technologies where environmental attributes are not yet applicable and, importantly, they will capture the associated social and environmental benefits of renewable energy.

The first, limited issuance of D-RECs is expected to be available to interested companies in Q4 2021.

“As investors increasingly shift to climate-positive businesses, renewable energy is an attractive target, but small-scale, distributed systems are often neglected by funding streams. The D-REC Initiative will help ensure that renewables funding benefits people who currently lack access to reliable electricity, are least responsible for climate change, and are most vulnerable to its impacts,” says Stephanie Jones, programme manager, Clean Energy, at Good Energies Foundation.


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