PPAs boom as corporates eye economic benefits of renewable power

The world’s biggest companies are driving a boom in power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable generators.

A new report from the RE100 group, which encompasses 122 large corporates committed to buying 100% renewable power, shows PPA deals increased four-fold across the group in 2016. Most of the PPA growth in Europe came from deals struck between members and off-site generators in the UK.

The report breaks down the procurement practices and progress of members towards their renewables ambition.

Collectively, RE100 members’ electricity demand stands at 159TWh per year, more than enough to power Poland.

On average, members sourced 32% of their power from renewable sources in 2016. That was down from 50% in 2015, but is attributed to new members joining RE100 over the year that currently procure less renewable power as a percentage of their overall consumption.

Some 25 firms have already achieved 100% renewable power procurement, with Marks & Spencer and Sky joining the club last year.

RE100 members include tech giants Ebay, Facebook, Google and Microsoft as well as telcos, media companies, data centres, consumer goods companies, manufacturers, banks, insurers, carmakers, pharmaceutical companies and retailers (see the full list here).

Surveyed for the report, 88% of member companies said economics of buying renewable power were an important part of the rationale to commit to doing so.

The group plans to increase membership to 200 this year and is specifically targeting large energy users from the metals, cement and other heavy industrial sectors.

It believes that by bringing the buying power of the group to bear, RE100 can also help deliver significant progress within renewables supply chains, further driving down costs.

As well as PPA growth, the report suggests member companies are also massively increasing the amount of power they generate and consume from on-site renewables.

See the report here.