By - Jim Vess

Corporate clean energy purchases soared in 2019 to a record 19.5 GW, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, February 5, 2020

Corporations purchased a record 19.5 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy contracts in 2019, a 40 percent increase over 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Contracts, primarily power purchase agreements (PPAs), were signed by more than 100 companies in 23 different countries, marking a three-fold increase from 2017.

“Corporations have purchased over 50 GW of clean energy since 2008,” Jonas Rooze, lead sustainability analyst at BNEF, said in a statement. “These buyers are reshaping power markets and the business models of energy companies around the world.”

The U.S. accounted for 80 percent of the capacity purchased, but BNEF said it saw strong performance in corporate sustainability worldwide.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) posted a 13 percent increase in capacity purchases to a record 2.6 GW for the regions.

While Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, and Denmark – and Finland still accounted for almost half the activity in the EMEA, energy contracts were signed for the first time in Spain, Poland, France and Italy.

The prime purchasers continued to be technology companies led by Google, which signed contracts for more than 2.7 GW of clean energy globally.

In September, Google announced contracts for 1.9 GW of capacity across six countries, the largest signal purchase by a corporation ever.

Google was followed by Facebook with 1.1 GW, Amazon with 900 megawatts (MW) and Microsoft with 800 MW.

More oil and mining companies made purchases this year, including Occidental Petroleum, Chevron and Energy Transfer Partners. In 2018, Exxon was the first oil company to sign PPAs totally 575 MW.

In Chile, mining companies BHP Group and Antofagasta are negotiating special clean energy supply agreements with retailers, Bloomberg said.

“These companies are facing mounting pressure from investors to decarbonize – clean energy contracts serve as a way to diversify energy spend and reduce susceptibility to the tangible risks associated with climate change,” Kyle Harrison, a BNEF sustainability analyst, said in a statement.

BNEF said it saw future growth in the market as corporate sustainability commitments soared in 2019, and were a driving force behind the record-breaking year for PPAs.

Almost 400 companies around the world committed to setting a science-based target in 2019 to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, more than doubling the total number of firms setting such goals when compared to 2017.

These firms have pledged to reduce their emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. “Clean energy will be an essential part of this strategy,” BNEF said.

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