Corporations bought a record 31.1 GW of clean energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2021, up nearly 24% from the previous year’s record of 25.1 GW. That’s according to research firm BloombergNEF (BNEF).
The activity was driven by the U.S., where two-thirds of the procurements occurred. In total, American corporations procured 17 GW in 2021. However, more than 137 corporations in 32 different countries inked deals last year, according to BNEF’s 1H 2022 Corporate Energy Market Outlook.
The largest technology companies collectively signed more than half of the deals. For the second year in a row, Amazon was the biggest buyer globally. It announced 44 offsite PPAs in nine countries, totaling 6.2 GW. That brings its total clean energy PPA capacity to 13.9 GW, making its clean energy portfolio the 12th largest globally among all companies.
Microsoft and Meta had the next largest number of PPAs among corporations, at 8.9GW and 8GW, respectively. Previously, Google was on top, but has begun sourcing renewable power through methods outside of PPAs.
“It is no longer a matter of whether corporate clean energy procurement will grow each year, it’s a matter of how much,” said Kyle Harrison, Head of Sustainability Research at BNEF.
On the flip side, AES sold more clean energy to corporations than any other developer globally, at just under 3 GW. Two-thirds of that activity took place in the U.S. Other markets included Brazil, Panama and Chile.
Engie signed more than 2.1 GW of PPAs, including a 350 MW deal with Amazon for energy produced by the Dundee Offshore Wind Farm in the U.K. Both AES and Engie have the advantage of a large utility’s support. This led to Orsted (1.3 GW), Vattenfall (0.8 GW) and NextEra (0.7GW) all having big years in 2021.
BNEF cited sustainability commitments as a driving force behind the record-breaking clean energy purchases. Some 67 companies set targets in 2021, pledging to offset all of their electricity demand with clean energy, and extending the number of pledging companies to 355 across 25 countries.
BNEF estimated that these 355 companies will need to buy an additional 246 TWh of clean electricity in 2030 to meet their targets. The amount is lower than its previous forecast, largely due to the record-breaking number of purchases.