BloombergNEF (BNEF) finds in its 1H 2020 Corporate Energy Market Outlook that some 19.5GW of clean energy contracts were signed by more than 100 corporations in 23 different countries in 2019. This was up from 13.6GW in 2018, and more than triple the activity seen in 2017. Put in context, the 2019 total was equivalent to more than 10% of all the renewable energy capacity added globally last year.
Technology companies once again dominated clean energy procurement. Google signed contracts to purchase over 2.7GW of clean energy globally in 2019, more than any other corporation. Facebook (1.1GW), Amazon (0.9GW) and Microsoft (0.8GW) were the next largest buyers globally in 2019.
Further a growing number of oil and gas companies are signing clean energy deals Occidental Petroleum, Chevron and Energy Transfer Partners all signed solar contracts in 2019.
It was also a record year for corporate PPAs in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Latin America, where companies purchased 2.6GW and 2GW of clean energy, respectively. Notable in EMEA was the pivot to new European markets outside of the Nordics. Though nearly half of the activity still came from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, companies are now beginning also to sign long-term clean energy contracts in markets like Spain, Poland, France and Italy for the first time. Corporations signed two offshore wind contracts in Germany, indicative of future trends from buyers in the region. Those who cannot sign PPAs can turn to the region’s extensive certificates market.
In Latin America, which saw threefold growth in its corporate PPA market, Brazil and Chile have emerged as top markets. Brazilian customers with annual demand over 3MW, known as wholesale consumers, have negotiated contracts directly with clean energy developers. In Chile, large mining companies like BHP Group and Antofagasta, facing similar investor pressure to oil and gas companies, are negotiating special clean energy supply agreements with retailers. Colombia is the next Latin American market to watch, following the successful roll-out of its first clean energy auctions.
While 2019 was a down year for corporate PPA activity in Asia Pacific (APAC), there is still plenty of buzz in the region. In Australia, onsite solar projects delivering power to corporations nearly doubled to 1GW, and a growing number of retailers offer sleeved programs to deliver clean energy reliably to corporate buyers, similar to green tariffs in the U.S. China’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are officially in force, mandating that large power consumers meet a certain amount of their demand with clean energy. Japan’s non-fossil certificate auctions grew 11-fold, boosted by the country’s high level of participation in sustainability initiatives – unrivalled among Asian markets.