April 16, 2018 Read More →

Corporate Buyers Go Big in First-Quarter Renewables Contracts


Large companies announced deals for at least 1,731 megawatts of capacity in renewable power during the first quarter of this year, in a sign of continued strong corporate demand for clean energy.

The amount of clean energy that businesses contracted for during the first three months of 2018 was more than half the amount that companies agreed to buy during all of last year, according to figures compiled by GreenBiz Research and the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center.

Besides the big, early boost, one thing that’s different so far this year is the array of creative, unique agreements, said Bryn Baker, deputy director of renewable energy at the World Wildlife Fund and head of the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles. “Companies are trying to link their commitment to renewables with deals that show a real impact,” she said.

In one example, Nestle’s U.S. business signed a 15-year agreement to buy 50 megawatts of power from an Indiana wind farm that will serve Nestle facilities in Pennsylvania. Although Nestle’s plants are in a different state from the wind farm, they use the same regional grid and power market, the PJM Interconnection. The 50 megawatts will come from an expansion of an existing wind farm, according to the company.

Facebook signed a deal in March to buy all the power generated from a 320 megawatt Nebraska wind farm by 2029 to power a new data center in Papillion, Nebraska, about 120 miles from the wind farm. The bundled, long-term power purchase agreement that Facebook signed with project owner and developer Enel Green Power North America is actually an amended version of a contract the companies signed in November for 200 megawatts of wind power.

The wind farm, Rattlesnake Creek, is under construction and is expected to start generating power by the end of 2018. In a companion contract, Adobe has agreed to buy 10 megawatts of power and renewable energy credits from the project from 2019 through 2028, through a bundled power purchase agreement. Due to supply needs, Facebook will buy all the wind farm’s power to serve its data center starting in 2029, according to the companies.

More: Clean Energy Deal Tracker: Facebook, Microsoft And L’Oreal Shape Strong Quarter

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