Find out how many US corporations are buying off-site, large-scale renewable energy

by Brianna Crandall — May 25, 2018 — The Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at nonprofit clean energy advocate Rocky Mountain Institute, hosted its annual member event for corporate buyers of renewable energy last month, at which BRC released a new report.

Titled Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement: 2017 State of the Market, North America, the graphic-rich report covers the history of corporate-backed purchases of off-site, large-scale wind and solar energy from 2008 to the beginning of 2018, highlighting transactions for 2017, which reached 2.78 gigawatts (GW) in the United States and represents the second-best year to date for non-utility renewable energy deals domestically.

The BRC’s annual member event was held at the headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Jersey City, New Jersey. Over 300 participants were in attendance from 230+ BRC member companies representing buyers, developers, service providers and non-governmental organizations from across the corporate renewable energy procurement market.

Cindy Quan, global head of the Environmental, Social and Governance team in Goldman’s Corporate Services and Real Estate Group, remarked:

Following our first renewable energy purchase last year, Goldman Sachs was pleased to host the annual Business Renewables Center member event this week. Our firm views sustainability as an integral part of a strong economy, and our partnership with RMI’s Business Renewables Center helps us work even more closely with the world’s leading companies on buying clean, renewable energy.

BRC’s State of the Market report highlighted the growth of corporate renewable energy transactions in the US, reaching over 9 GW cumulatively by the end of 2017, and the uptick in early corporate deals announced in 2018 to date at 1.96 through early April.

Miranda Ballentine, managing director for BRC, Rocky Mountain Institute, noted:

The annual BRC Member Event is an important opportunity to take stock of just how much the demand for renewable energy by corporations has grown. The corporate buyer community has expanded dramatically as more companies make meaningful sustainability commitments that drive toward a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.

The report does not include on-site power generation, such as from rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. It illustrates how the number of corporate buyers started with just four companies from 2008 to 2013 (Apple, Google, SC Johnson and Walmart) and expanded 10 times from 2013 to 2018, with 51 new buyers representing a diversity of industries joining the market. It also follows the rise in the number of new developers.

Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement: 2017 State of the Market, North America, filled with informative graphics, is available to download from the RMI website.