Energy Procurement, Commercial, Sourcing Renewables - January 22, 2018
Big tech drives clean energy record
Companies including technology leaders Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., signed long-term agreements for a record-breaking 5.4 gigawatts of clean power in 2017, a 26% increase over 4.3 gigawatts in 2016.
These agreements were made by 43 businesses, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Apple led the way with a 200-megawatt utility solar contract in Nevada. Overall, U.S. companies were responsible for 57% of these 2017 contracts.
Technology companies are making these commitments at a time when environmental policies in the U.S. and Europe are creating an uncertain picture for the economics of renewable energy. BNEF notes, "Big Tech is signing contracts for renewables even as the largest market, the U.S., rolls back policies promoting clean energy." They cite a decision expected this week from President Donald Trump on tariffs for solar imports, in addition to the country’s exit last year from the international Paris climate agreement and the dismantling of Obama-era regulations on power-plant emissions.
BNEF suggests that the administration’s actions have "actually emboldened some companies to buy more clean power in a bid to fight climate change in the absence of federal policy." They cite Google and Facebook’s climate pledges, as well as commitments to sourcing 100% of power from clean energy by JPMorgan Chase & Co. as prime examples.
"The growth in corporate procurement, despite political and economic barriers, demonstrates the importance of environmental, social and governance issues for companies," said Kyle Harrison, a corporate energy strategy analyst for BNEF. "The main driver is there are so many more companies demanding it. Large financial institutions have entered the space, and they’re big buyers."
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