New figures from BNEF show that corporations bought a record amount of 13.4GW of clean energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2018, well over double the previous record of 6.1GW set in 2017. The research firm’s latest Corporate Energy Market Outlook, reveals that 121 companies in 21 different countries signed up to buy renewable energy last year. More than 60% of those purchases were in the US. However, there are signs that the sector is ready to expand rapidly in other markets as well. Facebook was by far the biggest individual buyer, procuring 2.6GW of capacity, more than three times the amount purchased by the next biggest company, AT&T. Tech companies use a huge amount of power to run their data centres, which is why they are the biggest purchasers of clean energy and have made the running in the corporate procurement sector. Another notable development has been the emergence of smaller energy buyers aggregating their energy demands to enable them to sign PPAs with large clean energy projects – these buyers made up 31% of US demand. These firms are aggregating their electricity demand to reap the economies of scale from larger solar and wind projects. In many cases, they benefit from partnering with a bigger, more experienced buyer – known as an anchor tenant – who can offer a stronger balance sheet and expertise on accounting and legal nuances when signing a PPA. “For companies that think seriously about sustainable growth, establishing clean energy and decarbonization targets lines up naturally with overall corporate strategies. At the same time, these initiatives have created an entire new universe of opportunity for utilities, clean energy developers and investors.” Forbes

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