While many states around the U.S. are dragging their feet or even putting up obstacles to renewable energy development, big corporations are pushing utilities in the U.S. and around the world to embrace massive amounts of renewable power.
In 2021 companies bought a record 31.1 gigawatts of renewable energy, according to a report in Bloomberg News.
One of the biggest corporate purchasers was the online retailer, web services, streaming media, and grocery giant, Amazon.com, which accounted for nearly 20% of corporate spending on renewable energy.
In all, corporate buyers accounted for 10% of the renewable energy capacity added globally last year. It's a figure that was equal to a third of the entire energy generating capacity of the state of California, according to the Bloomberg report.
Amazon isn't alone in pushing for renewable adoption. In Louisiana, Medtronic, Google, Andersen Windows and Doors and Meta are just some of the buyers behind hundreds of megawatts of solar development. Further north, in Georgia, Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) is funding the development of 252 megawatts of solar power.
“It’s no longer a matter of whether corporate clean energy procurement will grow each year, it’s a matter of how much more,” Kyle Harrison, head of sustainability research at BNEF told Bloomberg. “More corporations are making new sustainability commitments, costs for renewables are plummeting and regulators around the world are slowly coming around to the fact that clean energy might be a silver bullet in the decarbonization of the private sector.”
Most of the growth of that renewable power is happening in North and South America with 20.3 gigawatts of new renewable developments. The number for the U.S. is 17 gigawatts
Tech companies lead all corporate buyers with Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta all making record corporate purchases for new renewable developments.
“The clean energy portfolios of big tech companies now rival those of the world’s biggest utilities. Big tech faces mounting pressure from investors to decarbonize and this is reflected in the steep increase in clean energy volumes purchased.," said Helen Dewhurst, Senior Associate at BNEF, in a statement. "The PPAs inked in previous years pale in comparison to the portfolios announced in 2021.”