# 3 Sustainable electricity and the essential role of solar for businesses – pv magazine USA
Despite the global Covid-19 pandemic and the recession, corporate purchases of clean energy are booming. Several factors are driving this trend, including lower costs, an increased appetite for sustainability among consumers and investors, and increased political will for net zero development. In recognition of this, the UP initiative spent the third quarter of 2021 studying sustainable electricity supply. How are PPA models evolving? What are the critical issues around residual energy? And how to avoid greenwashing? Read on to find out more.
The market for corporate clean energy purchases – primarily solar and wind – has skyrocketed to a record 23.7 GW in 2020, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF). The development of the past year has been particularly impressive, given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recessions that have followed. This underscores the increased appetite for sustainability in business, consumer and policy areas with falling renewable electricity costs.
According to Kyle Harrison, senior partner of BNEF, this upward trajectory continues in 2021. “Until April, companies announced 7.2 GW of PPA of clean energy, before the 4.2 GW signed in 2020”, a he declared. pv magazine.
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Critical Solar Role of Businesses: Since 2008, Apple, Google, Amazon and others have led the charge in supplying businesses with renewable energy. Their action means the United States has been the world’s largest market since 2008, with 11.9 GW of corporate power purchase agreements announced in 2020. However, other markets are starting to pick up the pace. .
RE100 and the corporate renewable electricity boom: in 2020, corporate renewable energy purchases reached a record 23.7 GW. Much of this growth has been led by a global non-profit initiative, RE100, which is led by the Climate Group and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Launched in 2014, 316 companies from over 175 markets have now committed to purchasing 100% renewable electricity. As part of the UP Initiative, pv magazine spoke with Mariana Daykova, senior director of renewable energies at CDP and her interim manager RE100, about the progress that has been made and what is planned for the future.
BNEF bullish outlook for corporate clean energy supply: Corporate clean energy supply continues to score new points. In 2020, companies announced a record 25 GW of clean energy PPAs worldwide, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth. Kyle Harrison, head of sustainability research at BloombergNEF, discusses key questions about the long-term outlook for corporate purchasing.
Achieve game-changing growth: Business purchases of green electricity reach an all-time high. Corporate pressure, new entrants and favorable legislative changes have combined to push the market further. As a result, the landscape of business models is changing. As part of the UP Initiative quarterly theme on sustainable electricity supply, pv magazine gave a brief overview of the main models available (see table) and explored two of the most important: energy certificates and power purchase contracts.
The Global Expansion of Access to Clean Energy: Once a US-centric phenomenon, companies are now able to purchase clean energy at competitive rates and on a large scale in most areas. world markets. Electricity markets are modified to allow power purchase agreements, while alternative mechanisms such as certificates and retail programs are nearly universal. Kyle Harrison, Head of Sustainability Research at BloombergNEF, discusses the growth in clean energy purchases by businesses globally.
Supporting the business renewable electricity market: Business purchases of clean electricity are finally taking off in many European markets, thanks to a number of reforms to renewable energy legislation. Spain and Italy, in particular, are experiencing an increasing number of transactions. However, are we doing enough to support the business market? Hannah Hunt, Director of Impact at RE-Source – a European alliance of stakeholders representing buyers and suppliers of clean energy – examines the driving forces for change and asks which policy and regulatory reforms are key to unlocking the potential of clean energy. supply of European companies.
Sustainable Debt Trends: While sustainable debt issuance has historically been dominated by the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and mainly driven by green bonds from the energy and financial sectors, it has diversified in recent years and is now a global market with a huge range of issuers, thanks to the diversity of instruments created since 2007. Maia Godemer, BloombergNEF (BNEF) researcher, discusses this growth and its implications.
Business acceleration: With solar power declared the cheapest form of energy in history and with wind prices following a similar trajectory, energy-using companies are buying renewable energy and investing in new large-scale capabilities. But more businesses need to scale up. Governments around the world must remove political barriers and open up new markets for renewable energy competition if we are to achieve the investment ladder needed to achieve a 1.5-degree world, according to Sam Kimmins, director of RE100.
Different Shades of Green: Most long-term power delivery contracts with renewable energy systems involve the delivery of electricity through the public grid through offsite power purchase agreements. This leads to a key question: “How do I, as a customer, know when and if I am really using renewable electricity, and how can I prove it?” Simon GÃ¶Ã and Michael ClauÃner of Energy Brainpool GmbH & Co. KG, a European market research company focused on energy trading, address these questions. They note the extent to which the development of green hydrogen is an opportunity to create more flexible electricity markets by promoting the adoption of renewable energies.
24/7 Heaven: This is what Google calls its “biggest sustainability moonlight yet” – a 24/7 hourly match – a new granular phase of renewable energy supply. The pursuit of 24/7 goes beyond purchasing enough renewable energy to match annual consumption, to match consumption every hour of every day. Some say 24/7 pairing could drive up the price of renewables, but others say 24/7 is the only way to help decarbonize homes, to minimize waste. greenwashing and creating a truly net-zero energy system.
In January 2022, pv magazine will publish a white paper on clean electricity purchases by businesses. Watch for more on this in the coming weeks! In the meantime, check out the coverage of our December 27 UP Initiative Q1 theme: Agri-PV and Q2: Workers’ Rights. The theme of the fourth quarter: Urban solar, will release on December 30.
In the first quarter of 2022, we will focus on the rise of electric mobility and how it can complement the transition to renewable energies. Specifically, we will examine the role that electric vehicles, trains, and two- and three-wheelers can play in greening the electricity grid.
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