American companies are continuing to procure renewable energy at an exponential clip and are expected to easily pass the 5 Gigawatt (GW) milestone by December, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance’s (REBA) 2018 Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Mid-year Market Update, led by Rocky Mountain Institute.
To date, corporate buyers in the U.S. purchased 4.81 GW renewable energy, up a full 2.03 GW from last year’s mark. Facebook led the way with 15 deals across multiple states for a total of just under 1.5 GW, followed by AT&T with four deals for just under 1 GW. Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Apple rounded out the top five, with five, two and two deals respectively, all for under 1 GW capacity. Microsoft was the big winner in terms of single deal size, with its deal with sPower for 315 MW of solar power in Virginia coming in as the largest corporate procurement in 2018.
While Virginia came away with the year’s largest deal, Texas has become the hotspot for corporate renewable deals, with 42, tripling the total of second-place finishers Oklahoma and North Carolina, each home to 14 deals. That’s not to say that the market is centralized by a select few, as to date 26 states have done corporate renewable deals. Special recognition goes to Utah, which signed its first corporate renewable deal in 2018.
By industry, we see tech companies leading the way, having signed 29% of 2018’s deals to offset the energy thirst from big data centers. That’s followed by consumer discretionary companies (think apparel, entertainment and leisure) at 23%, financial and consumer staples (essentials) at 13% each, healthcare at 9.7% and rounded out with industrial and telecommunications companies each accounting for 6.5%.
As record-breaking as 2018 was, REBA only expects the trend to continue onwards and upwards. As previously stated companies are expected to easily pass the 5 GW corporate renewable deal threshold before the end of the year. Furthermore, 2018 saw most first-time buyers in a single year than ever before.
It’s not as tough tech companies are going anywhere, or shrinking for that matter, and where there are tech companies there are big data centers. Where there are big data centers there is a need for energy. And, where there is a need for energy, corporations are proving day in and day out that they’ll choose renewable.