Commercial, Finance, Wind - June 12, 2020
Corporate customers see record year for wind energy contracts
Corporate customers now make up 10% of all operating wind capacity in the United States and set a new record for annual contracts for wind energy in 2019 by signing a total of 4,447 MW of wind capacity.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released June 11 the first Wind Powers American Business report, which found that wind has become an increasingly attractive energy source for corporations in America. With the record-breaking 4,447 MW of wind capacity contracted in 2019, the total corporate agreements for wind power in the U.S. now totals 16,857 MW.
The report found that more than 140 American companies have purchased wind energy; Google is the top buyer with 2,397 MW, followed by Facebook with 1,459 MW and Walmart, AT&T, and Microsoft. In 2019 alone, Walmart topped the charts by signing three wind project contracts totaling 541 MW. AT&T contracted 460 MW in 2019 and Facebook signed 440 MW.
“Leading businesses are increasingly relying on wind energy to power their operations, reduce costs to their customers, and help achieve their sustainability goals,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a statement. “These companies are leaders in their industries, making sustainability commitments that are good for business and good for the environment. The U.S. wind industry is proud to not only power millions of American homes, but to also provide affordable, reliable, and zero-carbon electricity to the brands that are driving this country’s economy forward, even as the U.S. continues to recover from the global pandemic.”
As the cost of wind energy continues to drop, more companies from across industries are joining in. AWEA’s report identified McDonald’s, Sprint, Ford Motor Company, Crown Holdings, and Gap as leading first-time buyers of wind in 2019. McDonald’s jumped to the top of that list, contracting 220 MW of wind energy and landing in the top 20 for overall contracted capacity.
Additionally, wind energy purchases have surged in the past few years within the retail, food and beverage and telecommunications industries. Wind purchasing in other industries like healthcare, automotive, industrial, oil and gas, consumer goods, financial, and entertainment sectors has grown as well, causing technology and retail to fall from accounting for 80% of contracts prior to 2015 to just 53% of contracts in 2019.
While Fortune 1000 companies only source 5% of their electricity from renewables, AWEA acknowledges that it would be in their best interest to increase their efforts as soon as possible. Over 80% of American voters say a company’s commitment to combating climate change is an important factor in deciding who they shop from; 88% of voters say it is important for the companies they patronize to use renewable energy as a way to keep costs low.