By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar running ‘neck and neck’ in global corporate power purchases in 2019

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019

Wind generation, which has been the dominate form of renewable energy for corporate clean energy in power purchase agreements, is running “neck and neck” with solar in 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Globally, companies had signed deals for 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar and 2.8 GW of wind by the end of May, BNEF said, including 11 deals in May for 1.29 GW of clean energy.

So far this year, corporations seeking to meet their own clean energy goals or to comply with the targets in the Paris climate agreement, have signed deals for 5.7 GW of power.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) has steadily been gaining ground. In 2014, it accounted for just 18 percent of the power agreements. By 2017, it was 25 percent, and last year it hit 45 percent.

The Americas, led by the U.S., account for 86 percent of this year’s agreements and 69 percent of all the deals signed since 2008.

In 2018, U.S. contracts for power purchase agreements, green power purchases, green tariffs and outright ownership of renewable project hit a record 6.43 GW, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.

Facebook, AT&T, Walmart, ExxonMobil and Microsoft had the top five highest volume in deals. Facebook led the year in highest capacity with its several deals totaling 1.8 GW.

The remainder of the power contracts struck so far in 2019 were in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, BNEF said. In 2018, 15 percent of the deals were in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2018, companies in 75 countries sourced renewable power through power purchase agreements, utility green procurement programs or unbundled energy attribute certificates, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“Countries in Europe and North America continue to account for the bulk of corporate sourcing and are home to a large number of companies that are actively procuring renewables not only in the country where they are headquartered but also for their operations around the world,” IRENA said.

IRENA said that rising demand “has been noted” in companies headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. “Few corporate procurement deals have been struck so far, but the region promises high potential,” the agency said.

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