TSMC Commits To 100% Clean Power, Pressuring Chipmaker Rivals To Follow Suit

TSMC, the world’s biggest semiconductor maker, has committed to source 100% of its power globally from renewable sources, putting pressure on its rivals such as Samsung, as well as large power consumers across Asia, to follow suit.

Taiwan’s biggest company, comprising a fifth of the total value of the Taiwanese stock market, TSMC is the first chipmaker to make the clean power commitment through RE100, a global initiative to encourage companies to switch to renewable energy. The company, the 12th-largest corporation in the world, joins more than 240 of the world’s biggest businesses in committing to wean itself off fossil fuelled power, which contributes to climate change.

As a manufacturer, TSMC, has one of the largest electricity demands in the RE100 membership. Its annual supply of 13.58TWh/yr is equivalent to a small country. 

The company is a key supplier to some of the world’s biggest electronics firms, including Apple, which last week announced plans to have a carbon neutral supply chain by 2030.

The move comes just weeks after the group signed the world’s biggest corporate power purchase agreement with Ørsted, agreeing to offtake the full production from the Danish company’s 920MW Greater Changhua 2b & 4 offshore wind farm for 20 years once the development comes into operation in 2025/26. The move is expected to save around 2 million tons of carbon a year.

“As companies pursue growth, they also must take environmentally friendly action,” Dr Mark Liu, chairman of TSMC, said. “TSMC is taking tangible action to drive green manufacturing, lower the impact of climate change, and has committed to using 100% renewable energy by the end of 2050.

“As the world’s first semiconductor company to join RE100, TSMC hopes to call the industry to action and push sustainability forward together, answering the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and work hand in hand to overcome the difficult challenges that humanity faces.”

Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, said: “We needed a hero company to leading by example in the semiconductor industry and by setting a 100% goal and calling on others to follow, TSMC is doing just that. 

“TSMC now has the world’s largest corporate power purchase agreement in Taiwan, only 18 months after the first PPA in the market – it goes to show what’s possible when ambitious companies are supported by forward-thinking policy.

“We expect this to trigger a domino effect across the region and the industry, with many more businesses stepping up.”

Over the last few years, Taiwan has expanded its renewable energy capacity significantly and become a regional leader on offshore wind, having set a goal of generating 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2025. In November, the Taiwanese authorities formally recognised the growing demand for renewable electricity from corporate customers, and the importance of greening supply chains.

“Four years ago, TSMC joining RE100 in Taiwan seemed unthinkable,” said Nate Maynard, research associate at Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER). “Now, thanks to strong policy foundations it is possible for even Taiwan’s largest companies to join. Taiwan has already made a name for itself manufacturing for the world, and now as more companies join RE100 it can be known as a renewable energy hub.”

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