U.S. corporations bought 5.95 GW of clean energy in 2019, closing in on the 2018 total, according to BloombergNEF’s (BNEF) recently published, 2H 2019 Corporate Energy Market Outlook.
The report shows that companies are once again flocking to Texas – historically the largest corporate procurement market in the country – where 40% of the activity in 2019 has occurred. However, just 1 GW of deals in the U.S. have come from green tariffs with regulated utilities. It is unlikely to reach the 2.6 GW seen in all of 2018.
This may be a result of buyer apprehension, as several companies have been involved in highly publicized legal battles with regulated utilities over clean energy buying. Companies are instead favoring the virtual PPA model, which has made up 82% of all U.S. deals in 2019.
As of this year, corporations signed contracts to purchase 8.6 GW of clean energy through July. This is up from 7.2 GW at the same time last year. Overall, 2019 is on pace to be bigger than 2018 for corporate PPAs globally. The U.S. made up 69% of this activity — it is by far the biggest market globally.
According to BNEF, RE100 members will need to buy an extra 189TWh of clean power in 2030 to hit targets. Despite 33 new companies joining the RE100 in 2019 through July, for a total of 191 signatories, we forecast the group collectively facing a shortfall of 189 TWh in 2030 – 1TWh less than BNEF’s previous forecast.
Existing RE100 members signed deals for an estimated 7.8 TWh of clean electricity, outpacing the demand from new signatories overall. Should these companies meet their 189 TWh shortfall through solar and wind PPAs, we estimate it would catalyze an additional 94GW of renewables build, leading to $97bn of new investment.
Globally, Corporations have purchased just 950 MW of clean energy through PPAs in Europe, Middle East, and Africa in 2019. The Nordics, which typically sets the pace for the region, has seen just 300 MW of deals, though several solar PPAs in Sweden are the first of their kind. There is excitement in new European markets like Poland and France, and a groundbreaking deal was signed by an oil and gas company in Oman, but otherwise the region continues to be underwhelming as a whole.
China is also on the verge of rolling out game-changing policies for corporate procurement. Policymakers are set to implement two key policies. The first is a renewable portfolio standard, mandating that corporations meet a percentage of their load with renewables. The second is a prosumer model, allowing companies to sell excess generation from their own clean energy projects to neighboring sources of demand.
Both mechanisms will create more corporate demand and give companies flexibility in how they procure renewables in China.