JPMorgan Chase goes all in on renewable energy

The 100% renewable energy movement has had some big names get on board to date, including tech giants like Apple, Google and Facebook, global beverage maker Anheuser Busch, and retail behemoth WalMart.

But those who control the money always have a disproportionate amount of both social and political power, so the announcement that the world’s third-largest bank has made a pledge to go 100% renewable may be the biggest news to date for the movement.

This morning JPMorgan Chase announced that it will source renewable power for 100% of its global needs by 2020, both through on-site installations of solar and procuring power from utility-scale projects.

This includes installing solar on up to 1,400 retail building that it owns, as well as its 40 commercial buildings. The company notes that its Polaris Corporate Center in Columbus, Ohio could alone host up to 20 MW of capacity, and that another building in Texas could host 7 MW.

As a start, the company will begin a pilot installation of solar panels at Chase branches in California and New Jersey, to be followed by installing solar on “thousands” of other locations.

In addition, the company plans to sign power contracts in select U.S. markets to offset its consumption by 40%. Already, a division of JPMorgan Chase has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with NRG for a 100 MW wind project, which is expected to go online by the end of this year.

These moves to purchase renewable energy will be complemented be enhanced energy efficiency measures, including switching to LEDs for lighting and installing systems to manage building energy use.

 

$200 billion in clean energy finance

But the company’s steps to facilitate renewable energy for its own operations are not the biggest part of the announcement. Concurrent with the moves to install and procure power from wind and solar, JPMorgan Chase plans to facilitate $200 billion in clean energy financing by 2025.

While details on this part of the plan are more vague, they appear to center around the company’s 22,000 corporate and investment clients. JPMorgan Chase has stated that its $200 billion commitment includes advising clients on strategic transactions and capital raises, financing and providing risk management solutions for renewable energy project and clean energy companies, and underwriting debt.

The company notes that it provided $2 billion in tax equity for wind, solar and geothermal projects in 2016, as well as advising clients in transactions including the IPO of offshore wind company Dong Energy and SunEdison’s second lien creditor constituents on the sale of their controlling stake in yieldcos TerraForm Power and Global to Canada’s Brookfield.

More information can be found on JPMorgan Chase’s fact sheet accompanying the announcement.