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Poll: 75% of Large U.S. Corporations Say They Will Buy Renewables Within 18 Months

Nearly three out of four of America’s largest corporations intend to purchase renewable energy within the next 18 months, based on the results of a survey released by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on June 22.

The poll, Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement, was administered with the support and facilitation of ACORE, a national nonprofit organization dedicating to advancing the renewable energy sector; and of the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center (BRC), a collaborative platform that comprises more than 120 corporate buyers, project developers and intermediaries.

And nearly 60 percent of those contacted are members of either ACORE or BRC, or both –with most spending more on energy than $100 million per year.

Among the respondents, PwC reports, 71 percent already have purchased renewables – and 85 percent of those who have made past purchases are actively pursuing additional acquisitions.

“Corporations have taken notice and are starting to think proactively about how the energy they use is being produced and consumed,” stated George Favaloro, managing director, Sustainable Business Solutions, at PWc in Boston. “More than ever, we’re seeing broad efforts by commercial and industrial companies to incorporate significant renewables resources into their energy mix.  Renewables purchases not only help companies save money and serve as a very visible corporate point of pride – the companies that are making them are helping to drive a transformation for our collective energy system.”

Other highlights of the survey include the following:

  • Of the total number of respondents surveyed, 72 percent are actively pursuing additional renewables purchases. And their appetite for renewables has been growing: 63 percent of respondents have become more inclined to purchase during the last six months.
  • This intent is driven by a desire to meet sustainability goals and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (cited by 85 percent of those actively pursuing), generate an attractive return on investment (76 percent), and limit exposure to energy price variability (59 percent).
  • Four-fifths of the companies surveyed are planning to build out their renewables portfolio with multiple types of transactions (e.g., an offsite power purchase agreement and an onsite financial investment).
  • While on-site PPAs remain most popular (selected by 67 percent of those actively pursuing procurement), more than half of those polled (58 percent) intend to purchase traditional off-site power purchase agreements (PPAs), and 30 percent plan to pursue off-site virtual PPAs. The responses also point to an increase in off-site versus on-site purchases.
  • When identifying the most important renewables technologies to their organizations over the next couple of years, nearly all respondents selected solar (96 percent), while a majority also cited wind (69 percent).
  • Among the 28% percent of respondents who are not actively pursuing purchases, the most commonly cited reasons for not doing so are the lack of a mandate (61 percent), an unattractive return on investment (56 percent); and the length of contracts (50 percent), which usually exceed ten years.

“The companies that are making corporate renewable purchases are playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of the industry – both in terms of their growing share of the market and their increasingly sophisticated needs and procurement approach,” Favaloro added.

To download the report, click here.

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