Tech giants dominate as REBA unveils Top 10 US corporate renewables buyers

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Facilities in the US providing power to Amazon. Image: Amazon.

Amazon, Google, and Verizon bought more renewable energy than any other corporations in the US, according to a new report, which also claims that utility-scale solar power is the most popular resource in the corporate space.

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, which released its second annual Deal Tracker Top 10 report today (15 February), found that tech giants continued to dominate corporate offtaking in 2020, with four companies ranking in the top five energy buyers. Amazon topped REBA’s ranking, procuring 3.163GW of renewable energy last year. The e-commerce giant invested in 26 new utility-scale wind and solar projects worldwide in December as part of a wider effort to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025. The company’s total renewable energy capacity came to 6.5GW by the end of last year, having broken ground on its first solar farm more than four years ago.

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Google came in second place, with 1.04GW, while Verizon followed with 840MW of capacity secured through long-term purchase agreements. Last year’s winner, Facebook, fell to fifth place behind fast food giant McDonald’s, securing 725MW of renewables capacity in 2020, less than half the 1.546GW contracted the previous year.

Image: REBA.

As well as tech, metal and mining groups also showed strong interest in investing in renewables offtakers last year, with steel producers Nucor and Evraz North America contracting 325MW and 300MW of renewables capacity respectively.

In total, large energy buyers contracted 10.6GW of renewable energy capacity, according to the organisation, which represents some of the US’ largest corporate energy buyers such as McDonald’s and Facebook. The results were driven largely by utility-scale solar projects, which accounted for 72% of all deals mentioned in the organisation’s report.

REBA’s members made up 97% of renewable energy deals that were announced in 2020, the group said. REBA was jointly set up by more than 300 companies including Facebook, Google, General Motors and Walmart in March 2019, with the target of bringing more than 60GW of renewables online in the US by 2025.

Miranda Ballentine, the chief executive of REBA, said it is “remarkable that the business community announced nearly 100 new deals while managing the impacts of a global pandemic.”

The report echoes findings from other research groups such as BloombergNEF, which revealed in January that corporations bought 18% more clean energy last year compared with 2019, and positioned Amazon as the largest corporate leader on solar PPAs.

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