Despite the pandemic, global recession or uncertainty of US energy policy, corporates still went in for clean energy procurement agreements in 2020, driven by their corporate sustainability targets and expanding access to clean energy, according to BloombergNEF. (Source: BloombergNEF)
- BloombergNEF says in 2020, 23.7 GW worth of corporate clean energy contracts were signed
- These were signed by more than 130 companies, led by Amazon that signed up for 5.1 GW capacity alone
- The US was the largest market with 11.9 GW agreements signed followed by EMEA with 7.2 GW deals and APAC with 2.9 GW
- Driven by their RE100 commitments, BNEF believes 285 members will need an additional 269 TWh of clean electricity by 2030, translating into 93 GW of new incremental solar and wind capacity
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The year 2020 turned out to be the one when the highest amount of clean energy was contracted globally by corporates, totaling up to 23.7 GW clean energy. That’s higher than 20.1 GW reported in 2019, and even higher than 13.6 GW in 2018, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Earlier, BloombergNEF had estimated global corporate clean energy contracts in 2019 to add up to 19.5 GW with Google leading the race as the largest purchaser of clean energy signing contracts that year (see 19.5 GW Corporate Clean Energy Contracts In 2019).
In its 1H 2021 Corporate Energy Market Outlook, BloombergNEF said in 2020 such contracts were signed by more than 130 companies almost overshadowing the impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic spread, global recession and uncertainty about US energy policy ahead of the Presidential elections. The report writers attribute this growth to the corporate sustainability targets and expanding access to clean energy globally.
The US scored most contracts last year with 11.9 GW corporate power purchase agreements (PPA) even as it was down from 14.1 GW in 2019. Only 4.3 GW contracts were announced in H1/2020. The Latin American market too declined to only 1.5 GW, but it was Brazil that shined having signed for a record 1,074 MW thanks to the free market policy allowing direct bilateral deals between generators and developers. Mexico, on the other hand, suffered due to the political indifference to the renewables industry.
There was a major growth reported by the analysts in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region where a total of 7.2 GW clean energy was contracted with Spain contributing 4.2 GW to the total after having reported only 300 MW in 2019.
In the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, Taiwan drove the renewable energy capacity contracts with 1.25 GW contributing to the aggregate of 2.9 GW reported for the region. Taiwan is expected to add more to this number in the years to come thanks to a government order for companies with an annual load of above 5 MW need to source clean power, points out the report. It sees South Korea coming up as another big corporate PPA market in Asia as the government here allowed bilateral contracts between renewable energy generators and domestic electricity consumers recently (see South Korea Clears Way For Renewable Energy PPAs).
If it was Facebook that led the corporate renewable energy procurement drive in 2018, and Google in 2019, the year 2020 got a new market leader in the form of Amazon. The American e-commerce giant signed 35 contracts for a total of 5.1 GW of new clean energy capacity in 2020 in the form 3.09 GW solar and 2 GW wind energy (see Amazon Invests In 3.4 GW Renewable Energy Capacity). Energy company Total of France follows next with 3 GW contracted in 2020.
According to BNEF, up ahead, corporate renewable energy purchasing activity is set to grow as more companies join the RE100 initiative which with 285 members will need an additional 269 TWh of clean electricity by 2030. “Should this shortfall be met exclusively with offsite PPAs, it would catalyze an estimated 93 GW of new, incremental solar and wind build,” according to BNEF.
Lead Sustainability Analyst at BNEF Jonas Rooze said, “More than ever before, corporations have access to affordable clean energy at a global scale. Companies no longer have an excuse for falling behind on setting and working towards a clean energy target.”