Facebook likes clean energy as corporate purchasing sets record


It has been a miserable year thus far for Facebook, with its involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal exposing the social media juggernaut to accusations of meddling in the U.S. election and Brexit vote, in addition to a sliding share price and a new algorithm causing further ructions.

But Mark Zuckerberg’s embattled company can at least point to the fact it is the largest corporate buyer of clean energy to date this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance‘s 2H Corporate Energy Market Outlook report, published on Friday.

According to the BNEF figures, Facebook has purchased more than 1.1 GW of energy from renewable sources, including solar PV, so far this year, helping the corporate world to already surpass the record 5.4 GW of clean energy procured last year – that’s gotta be worth a like.

The report states the business world has already secured 7.2 GW of low-carbon energy this year, with 60% of it secured by U.S. companies, with Facebook topping the pile ahead of communications giant AT&T – which has bought 820 MW of green energy so far this year – and aluminum manufacturers Norsk Hydro (667 MW) and Alcoa (524 MW).

Aluminum deals show business case for renewables

The two aluminum makers are also responsible for the lion’s share of the record 1.6 GW of clean energy procured by the corporate sector in Europe so far this year – with 75% of that figure accounted for by deals signed by Norsk and Alcoa in Norway and Sweden. In promising news for solar and wind advocates, the press release issued by BNEF to publicize its report noted both companies were motivated by the opportunity to lock in long term energy deals, rather than by environmental concerns.

The report notes that the 140 signatories to the RE100 pledge – under which corporations promise to source all of their power from renewables by 2030 – consume around 184 TWh of energy and would need to purchase around 197 TWh more green power to fulfill their pledge. BNEF’s analysts estimate if that figure were reached through power purchase agreements, it would drive 100 GW of new solar and wind capacity worldwide.

The report also notes telecommunications companies and manufacturers are joining the clean energy transition and that businesses are pooling their power requirements, with the result small enterprises can also get involved.

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