2018 Was a Record Year for Corporate Clean Energy Contracts

Reports out this week from Bloomberg New Energy Finance
(Bloomberg NEF) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
confirm that 2018 was a boom year for
corporate renewables deals
.

Data from Bloomberg NEF shows
that clean energy contracts signed by corporations more than
doubled between 2017 and 2018, to 13.4 gigawatts, signed by 121
corporations in 21 countries. The majority of deals were in the
U.S., which accounted for 60 percent or 8.5 gigawatts of worldwide
deals.

AWEA’s report (which only covers the U.S.) noted a 66 percent
increase in wind-specific PPAs, with companies signing agreements
for 4,203 megawatts of wind energy last year. 

The numbers confirm
forecasts
that 2018 would be a record year for corporate
procurement of clean energy. But BNEF’s numbers indicate just how
meteoric the rise in corporate deals has been: Of the 32 gigawatts
in deals signed since 2008, 86 percent came in the last three years
and 40 percent occurred in the last year.

  

In the U.S., corporate PPAs saw a tripling over 2017. Facebook
— which has had a
rough 2018
by other measures — far outpaced other companies
with 2.6 gigawatts of deals.

For comparison, the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business
Renewables Center pegs U.S. corporate renewable energy deals last
year at 6.53
gigawatts
, up from 2.78 gigawatts in 2017.

Beyond the large, usually tech-focused market leaders, Bloomberg
NEF noted that the trend of small companies jumping into clean
energy was an important feature of the market last year. The firm
noted that 34 companies signed their first clean energy PPAs in
2018, which accounted for 31 percent of U.S. deals. AWEA’s report
reiterated that theme, with new buyers accounting for 45 percent of
non-utility wind deals signed last year. 

Deals where small companies can work with an anchor tenant, who
offers the balance sheet ballast to secure the deal, are becoming
more common. But other types of aggregation deals are also no
longer an anomaly. 

“The aggregation model has heralded in a new generation of
corporate clean energy buyers,” said Kyle Harrison, a Blooomberg
NEF corporate sustainability analyst and the lead author of the
report, in a statement. “These companies no longer need to tackle
the complexities of clean energy procurement alone. They can share
risks associated with credit and energy market volatility with
their peers.”

Greentech Media recently
reported
on one of those aggregation deals, featuring Gap,
Salesforce, Bloomberg and others. Each company took on 5 to 10
megawatts of solar and the group said it hopes the format can
provide a framework for other small offtakers. 

Oil majors are also jumping, albeit slowly, into clean energy.
Both BNEF and AWEA pointed to contracts that ExxonMobil, for solar
and wind in Texas, and Royal Dutch Shell, which is working on
offshore wind, signed last year.   

According to AWEA, non-utility entities signing wind PPAs rivals
the capacity of utility PPAs signed in 2018: 4,304 megawatts for
utilities and a close 4,203 megawatts for non-utilities.

U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2018 Market Report 

Facebook came in third for wind-only deals, beat out by AT&T
with 820 megawatts and Walmart with 533 megawatts.   

Bloomberg NEF said the “healthiest signal” for growth moving
forward is the push from corporate clean energy and sustainability
goals. The RE100
initiative, according to BNEF, with companies committing to 100
percent renewables, could mean an additional 102 gigawatts by 2030
if companies use offsite solar and wind PPAs to meet their
targets.

AWEA noted there’s over 35,095 megawatts of wind under
construction or in advanced development in the U.S., with
non-utility buyers accounting for 11,300 megawatts of wind power to
date.   

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
2018 Was a Record Year for Corporate Clean Energy Contracts