Topic of the Week: PPAs (Part 5): Corporate PPAs on the rise

3/13/20, 5:01 PM -

Corporations signed contracts to purchase 8.6GW of clean energy in 2019 through July. This is up from 7.2GW at the same time last year, according to BloombergNEF. Several solar PPA have been signed in Sweden for the first time.

The U.S. is by far the biggest market globally for corporate PPAs of clean energy.
The U.S. is by far the biggest market globally for corporate PPAs of clean energy.

Here is the last part of our Topic of the Week on PPAs:

Overall, 2019 is on pace to be bigger than 2018 for corporate PPAs globally, the 2H 2019 Energy Market Outlook of BloombergNEF states. The U.S. made up 69% of this activity – it is by far the biggest market globally.

U.S. corporations bought 5.95GW of clean energy in 2019, closing in on the 2018 total. Companies are once again flocking to Texas – historically the largest corporate procurement market in the country – where 40% of the activity in 2019 has occurred. Companies are signing solar PPAs in ERCOT to take advantage of peak pricing during the hot summer months, which greatly improves the economics on a deal.

Huge potential demand for solar and wind power

Just 1GW of deals in the U.S. have come from green tariffs with regulated utilities. „It is likely we won't reach the 2.6GW seen in all of 2018”, BloombergNEF speaker Veronika Henze said. “This may be a result of buyer apprehension, as several companies have been involved in highly publicized legal battles with regulated utilities over clean energy buying. Companies are instead favoring the virtual PPA model, which has made up 82% of all U.S. deals in 2019“.

RE100 members will need to buy an extra 189TWh of clean power in 2030 to hit targets. Despite 33 new companies joining the RE100 in 2019 through July, for a total of 191 signatories, BloombergNEF forecasts the group collectively facing a shortfall of 189TWh in 2030 – 1TWh less than the previous forecast. Existing RE100 members signed deals for an estimated 7.8TWh of clean electricity, outpacing the demand from new signatories overall. Should these companies meet their 189TWh shortfall through solar and wind PPAs, Blooomberg/NEF estimates it would catalyze an additional 94GW of renewables build, leading to $97bn of new investment.

Global corporate PPA volumes by region.

New markets like Poland and France and solar PPAs in Sweden - but Europe underwhelming

Corporations have purchased just 950MW of clean energy through PPAs in Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2019. The Nordics, which typically sets the pace for the region, has seen just 300MW of deals, though several solar PPAs in Sweden are the first of their kind. There is excitement in new European markets like Poland and France, and a groundbreaking deal was signed by an oil and gas company in Oman, but otherwise the region continues to be underwhelming as a whole.

China is on the verge of rolling out game-changing policies for corporate procurement. Policymakers are set to implement two key policies. The first is a renewable portfolio standard, mandating that corporations meet a percentage of their load with renewables. The second is a prosumer model, allowing companies to sell excess generation from their own clean energy projects to neighboring sources of demand. Both mechanisms will create more corporate demand and give companies flexibility in how they procure renewables in China, BloombergNEF expects. (HCN)

Here, in case you missed them, are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this week's series.