BloombergNEF: Corporate clean energy purchases topped 30 GW in 2021

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 flurry of 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 these deals last year, according to BNEF’s 1H 2022 Corporate Energy Market Outlook.

Global corporate PPA volumes, 2010-2021. Onsite PPAs excluded. APAC volume is an estimate. Pre-reform PPAs in Mexico and sleeved PPAs in Australia are excluded. Capacity is in MW DC (Source: BloombergNEF).

The largest technology companies collectively signed over half of the deals. For the second year in a row, Amazon was the biggest buyer globally, announcing 44 offsite PPAs in nine countries, totalling 6.2 GW. This 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 have the next largest among corporations, at 8.9GW and 8GW, respectively. Previously, Google was on top, but has since begun sourcing renewable power through methods outside of PPAs.

Top corporate buyers of clean energy in 2021, Onsite PPAs included. Data is based on publicly available information (Source: BloombergNEF).

“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 this took place in the U.S., but other markets included Brazil, Panama and Chile.

Engie signed more than 2.1 GW of PPAs, including a 350 MW PPA with Amazon for 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 cites sustainability commitments as a driving force behind the record-breaking clean energy purchases. Some 67 companies set targets in 2021, pledging to offset 100% of their electricity demand with clean energy, extending the number of pledging companies to 355 across 25 countries.

BNEF estimates that these 355 companies will need to purchase an additional 246 TWh of clean electricity in 2030 to meet their targets. This is lower than its previous forecast – largely due to the record-breaking number of purchases.