Tech giants lead record-breaking clean energy purchases in 2018

Global corporations like Facebook and Microsoft have purchased an unprecedented 7.2GW of clean energy so far this year, shattering the previous record of 5.4GW for the whole of 2017.


That is according to new data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which shows that technology firms have been the biggest corporate buyers of clean energy this year, purchasing around 1.8GW.

Facebook leads the way on 1.1GW, followed by AT&T on 820MW, with the US and Nordic countries accounting for nearly 80% of purchases across 28 markets.

BNEF said the high levels of activity were thanks to the promise of long-term savings, with PV module costs down 84% globally since 2010, and wind turbine costs down 32%.

“Taken together with efficiency improvements, these cost declines have made renewables cost-competitive with wholesale power prices and more traditional sources of electricity,” BNEF said.

“As a result, we’re seeing corporations locking into fixed, long-term clean energy contracts, hedging against volatile prices in the wholesale market.”

The top 10 corporate buyers of clean energy this year are shown below:

Although dominated by large corporations, BNEF said smaller US firms are also increasingly pooling their electricity demand together to access the economies of scale achieved through larger solar and wind projects.

In the Nordics, companies are attracted to strong wind resources and the Nord Pool power market, which allows for electricity to be bought, delivered and sold between Sweden and Norway.

BNEF forecasts growth to continue, but said RE100 companies pledging to source 100% of electricity from renewables would need to buy an additional 197TWh of clean energy in 2030 to reach their targets.

Were this shortfall met with long-term contracts for new solar and wind projects, it would lead to an additional 100GW of capacity – slightly larger than California’s entire electricity grid today.

“As more multi-nationals establish renewables targets, we expect corporations to have an increasing impact on power market design around the world, opening up new avenues for companies to purchase clean energy,” BNEF said. 


Graphic credit: BNEF
Image credit: iStock 


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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