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New Report Examines "why and how corporates buy renewables," "strategies to increase renewable energy project development"

2 min. read

Thanks to Steve Vavrik of Apex Clean Energy for the "heads up" on the new study, 2017 State of Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement. As Vavrik explains (bolding added for emphasis), "In new research conducted in partnership with Apex, the GreenBiz Group surveyed more than 150 business leaders from companies with annual revenues over $250 million about their energy strategies, specifically the factors driving their consideration of, commitment to, or contracted direct procurement of renewable energy."

One encouraging finding from the report was that threats to pull out of the Paris climate accord are not slowing down the private sector; to the contrary, "[m]ore than four in every five respondents, representing a broad range of industry sectors, plan to be active in the renewable energy market in the next decade." In large part, this is because of the plummeting price of clean energy, a trend that's not likely to slow down anytime soon. In sum, the report concludes that we are seeing "the beginning of a turning point for sustainable power generation," with the main "missing piece" being "a new appreciation for the value of investing in sustainability, one that fully appreciates the scale of the task ahead: a private sector–led modernization and decarbonization of our national electric grid."

A few more more top findings, from the report itself, include:

  • "Most large corporates plan to be active in the renewable energy (RE) market over the next five to 10 years (84 percent) and 43 percent plan to be more aggressive in the next 24 months – led by retail (70 percent), technology (60 percent) and healthcare (54 percent)."
  • "Most corporates have RE targets (57 percent), and the primary drivers focus on addressing energy and emissions goals (70 percent) and demonstrating corporate leadership (65 percent)."
  • "At 65 percent, price was the clear leading criteria among the drivers of corporate buying decisions, with value coming in a distant second (34 percent)." Other criteria include "energy intensity of facilities" (31%), "length of contract" (27%), "credit towards goals" (27%), reputation of renewable energy developer (23%), type of renewable energy technology (20%).
  • "It’s no longer a mostly REC world. As the economics of clean energy become more compelling, corporates are leveraging new transaction methods including project aggregation and utility green tariffs." Renewable energy strategies used/considered include owned onsite renewable energy (55%), purchased RECs (49%), virtual PPAs (26%), leased onsite renewable energy (23%), physical PPAs (21%), utility green tariffs (19%) and community solar (14%).
  • "Most barriers cited by corporates not yet actively purchasing renewables were focused on internal coordination, indicating a need for greater market awareness." Top barriers for non-active corporates are "lack of internal company alignment" (55%), "energy buying not strategic" (45%), "energy footprint not big enough" (36%), "energy markets too complicated (27%) and "energy managed short-term" (27%).

Finally, here several summary graphics from the report, which we strongly recommend to anyone interested in strategies to increase corporate renewable energy procurement.