The American Clean Power Association (ACP) has released a report that shows corporations purchased more clean energy in 2022 than any previous year. The Clean Energy Powers American Business report provides a detailed picture of how commercial and industrial (C&I) companies are driving demand for American clean energy and accelerating the clean energy transition through purchases of clean power directly from wind, solar and energy storage plants.
Even as power purchase agreement (PPA) prices increased, corporations purchased nearly 20 GW of clean energy in 2022, more than 4 GW higher than any previous year. By the end of the year, over 300 corporations had contracted more than 77 GW of clean energy. Once operational, that is enough capacity to power the equivalent of over 1,000 data centers, or 18 million American homes.
“Economic and environmental benefits, as well as growing pressure on corporations to meet sustainability targets, have led to a 100-times increase in corporate clean power procurement over the past decade,” says JC Sandberg, interim CEO and chief advocacy officer. “During that same period, solar and wind costs have decreased 71 percent and 47 percent respectively, making both more attractive to corporate energy buyers. American companies are benefiting from – and contributing to – the affordability of clean power.”
Technology companies have contracted more clean energy than any other industry, and Amazon, Meta and Google – in that order – are the top three clean power buyers, with recent announcements by Amazon and Meta causing them to overtake Google, the former leader.
The energy industry now has the second most clean power capacity contracted at 6.7 GW, with traditional oil and gas companies such as Shell, TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil accounting for 60% of total capacity contracted by energy companies.
Corporations are purchasing clean energy from 540 projects spread across 49 states, DC and Puerto Rico, but Texas is home to the majority of corporate contracted clean power, followed by Illinois and Ohio.
There are 326 companies that have clean power procurement agreements in place across the nation, with operating contracts accounting for 16% of total operating clean power in the United States – the equivalent of nearly 6 million American homes.
Solar projects are now outpacing wind as the preferred choice for corporate buyers, with utility-scale solar accounting for 58% of corporate contracted clean power. Hybrid projects that include storage – primarily solar plus storage – are growing rapidly.
Projects with corporate buyers support local economies with approximately $143 million in state and local tax payments and $147 million in land lease payments to local farmers and landowners.
They also avoid almost 47 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, equivalent to the emissions from nearly 10 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.
“Texas might be the home of the oil and gas industry, but it is fast becoming the leading state to buy clean energy to power business activity,” continues Sandberg. “Corporate demand for clean energy is a key driver for wind, solar and battery storage development. Even traditional oil and gas companies now recognize the value of clean energy for their operations, making the energy sector the second-largest industry for clean power purchases.”
The tech industry leads the list, and the clean power horse race between Amazon, Meta and Google continues to play out. A large volume of recent power purchase agreement (PPA) announcements have made Amazon the top corporate purchaser. Between 2020 and 2022, Amazon announced 11 GW of new PPAs. Meta, the second largest clean power purchaser, has, on average, announced over 940 MW of new clean power procurement each year since 2013. Google, one of the earliest adopters of clean power, had a slow year of procurement in 2021 but rebounded in 2022 with more than 940 MW.
Corporate procurement of solar plus storage projects soared over the past two years, in part due to the increasing availability of hybrid projects. Pairing solar with storage allows C&Is to benefit from firmed generation. Online solar-plus-storage capacity has nearly quadrupled over the past five years and the list of solar-plus-storage projects in the pipeline swells.
View the full Clean Energy Powers American Business Report here.