Fossil Fuel Free Electricity (completed in 2014)
Biogen has taken a leadership position to manage our climate impact. In 2014 Biogen signed the RE100 pledge and immediately shifted our electricity consumption to renewable generating sources.
We have maintained 100% renewable electricity (RE) across 30 of the markets where we operate. In total, this equates to 99.94% of our global demand, with 0.06% remaining unmet in South Korea and New Zealand, where Biogen is facing barriers to sourcing RE in accordance with the strict RE100 criteria. We will work with other RE100 members to improve supply in these markets.
To date, this has resulted in the avoidance of more than 230,000 MT of carbon dioxide and tons of other air pollutants that harm people and the environment. Biogen plans to maintain its 100% fossil fuel free electricity in perpetuity.
Our journey with renewable electricity continues as we look deeper into the additionality that the renewable electricity we purchase provides. For example, in 2020, we signed a two-year contract to obtain 100% of the electricity for our Massachusetts, USA facility from a local renewable project.
Biogen-Owned Facility Electrification (planned for 2025-2040)
Biogen maintains four large manufacturing and R&D facilities: one in Massachusetts, USA; two in North Carolina, USA; and one in Solothurn, Switzerland. Each of these facilities burn more than 35,000 MWh of natural gas to heat, cook, generate steam and power our operations. Our engineering team is formulating strategies to operate these facilities without fossil fuel combustion by 2040. This may mean transitioning to electric heat pumps and steam generators or using technologies such as geothermal heating.
Our Massachusetts location currently houses a large natural gas cogeneration unit. Installed in 2006, this unit has significantly decreased our climate impact due to the efficiency gains of cogeneration of electricity and steam; however, emerging science points to health concerns associated with natural gas extraction, storage and combustion. With the rise of renewable electricity and technological improvements, we will sunset this approach and identify effective solutions to fill its role.
One of the more challenging components of building electrification will be backup power. As is common around the world, Biogen uses fuel oil powered backup generators. We will evaluate the feasibility of alternatives such as lithium-ion batteries and green hydrogen to meet our needs and ensure business continuity.
Leased Facility Electrification (planned 2025-2040)
Biogen leases numerous spaces around the world. As these are rented facilities, we plan to work with the building owners on plans to eliminate their fossil fuel impacts – and, in some cases, we may relocate to buildings that already have.