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Tech giants' investments in renewable power purchase agreements lead the way

March 04, 2020
Clark Butler
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Key Findings

As major fossil fuel companies experience huge drops in market capitalization due to the oil price bottoming out, the spreading covid-19 pandemic and the consequential share market slide, major technology companies are instead facing their next boom.

At the end of 2019 the fossil fuel energy sector commanded just 4.3% of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (and probably just half of this today in March 2020), down from 25% in the 1980s, when oil and gas companies represented seven of the top 10 companies. Today there are none, with big tech giants commanding half of the top ten spots.

Executive Summary

The largest players in ICT — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google and Microsoft — have been investing in renewable energy projects for some time, and have all committed to renewable energy targets.

Similarly, nine of the ten largest banks in the United States have committed to 100% renewable energy in their operations (and three are already there). Seven of them have set meaningful targets to provide sustainable, low carbon or renewable energy financing.

Both sectors have driven renewable investment by the global need to reduce carbon emissions, and at this current juncture with fossil fuel majors and markets collapsing around us, are likely to drive even further investment into low cost deflationary sustainable renewable energies.

While governments may be doing little, or worse — backtracking in the U.S. and spinning in aimless circles in Australia — corporate energy users are getting on with it.

Clark Butler

Clark Butler is an IEEFA guest contributor, and a corporate adviser with a background in the technology and finance sectors. In additional to being a director of and investor in technology and data companies, he is exploring technology and financing solutions to encourage investment in renewable energy solutions.

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