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Corporate renewable energy deals set for all-time high in US, figures show

Corporate renewable energy deals are growing increasingly prevalent in the US as the country looks to break records with five gigawatts of non-fossil fuel power sources set to be purchased by December.

Non-fossil fuel sources of power are proving increasingly popular among businesses in the US, with corporate renewable energy deals in the US set to reach a single-year record of five gigawatts by December.

The numbers by energy analyst Business Renewables Center highlight 2018 as the year with the most renewables procurement from businesses, surpassing the previous record of 3.12 gigawatts in 2015 with a month to spare.

Social media giant Facebook and telecoms behemoth AT&T account for the lion’s share of this trend, with ten and four unique deals, respectively.

The total number of companies to have signed a renewable energy contract so far this year stands at 70, with 20 of those being first-time buyers - another single-year record for 2018 to add to its haul.

Business Renewables Center programme manager Kevin Haley said: “A strong number of new first-time buyers are continuing to enter into the market - and a lot of this growth is being driven by companies that may not have done a deal yet.

“I think it’s something businesses are seeing as achievable, as power-purchase agreements and other transactions become more streamlined and easier to use and de-risked.

“They’re also looking at the future of the grid and the future of policy and considering what impact a potential carbon tax could have on their company.

“This is something where companies are looking further down the road and deciding that renewable energy procurement makes good business sense.”

corporate renewable energy deals
Business Renewables Center programme manager Kevin Haley

Cutting the risk out of corporate renewable energy deals

In an attempt to de-risk corporate renewable energy deals and make them more appealing for big businesses, technology company Microsoft this week announced its volume firming agreement (VFA) system.

Developed in collaboration with tech firm REsurety and its partners Nephila Climate and Allianz Global, this is aimed at making power-purchase agreements (PPAs) a less complicated process.

In a blog post on its website, Microsoft wrote: “VFAs are intended to be a simple fix to a big challenge with renewable energy PPAs, namely, that these deals expose the buyer to all the weather-related risks of power production, and the inherent intermittent nature of wind and solar means there are hourly issues to be addressed.”

Wlamart is one of the largest US-based companies to have made a renewable energy procurement recently with their purchase of 233MW of wind energy earlier this week.

The retail giant paid an undisclosed amount for stakes in three wind farms developed, owned and operated by renewable energy company EDP Renewables, and located across Illinois and Indiana.

Vice president of energy for Walmart Mark Vanderhelm said: “Walmart has a goal to be supplied by 100% renewable energy and sourcing energy from wind farms developed by partners like EDP Renewables is a core component in the mix.

“Wind energy is an important part of our energy portfolio, and Walmart plans to continue our efforts to pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business, and the environment.”