Salesforce, Kaiser Permanente add to boom in corporate renewable PPAs
Two more U.S. corporations have signed renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) as they seek to eliminate or neutralize their emissions.
Health care company Kaiser Permanente earlier this week finalized a roughly 180 MW PPA with NextEra Energy Resources for a project that combines solar and wind energy with battery storage.
- Separately, cloud computing company Salesforce has signed a PPA for 80 MW of power from EDP Renewables’ 205-MW Bright Stalk wind farm in Illinois.
Corporate PPAs are on the rise. A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) found that corporations have already committed to more renewable energy through PPAs in 2018 than they have in all of 2017.
So far this year, corporations have signed up to purchase 7.2 GW. In 2017, corporations signed PPAs for 5.4 GW of renewable energy, according to BNEF. Eighty percent of the PPAs were signed in the U.S. and the Nordic countries.
Corporate emissions reduction targets and a desire for "additionality," that is, encouraging the construction of new clean energy though PPAs, are driving the trend along with falling prices. Since 2010, photovoltaic module costs are down 84% and wind turbine costs are down 32% globally, BNEF said.
When corporations first embraced sustainability goals, they often pursued them by buying renewable energy credits from existing renewable energy generators. Signing a PPA allows a company to claim additionality, having caused a reduction in generation from more polluting sources while supporting the growth of more renewable energy sources.
That is the case with the NextEra project, which is being built on the basis of Kaiser Permanente's PPA. The project includes a 131 MW solar farm and 110 MW battery storage facility in Riverside County, Calif., along with a 50 MW wind farm across the border in Arizona. The output of the facility will be delivered directly to the California grid.
Kaiser Permanente says the PPA makes it the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the U.S. health care sector with more than 1 million MWh of green power annually. It wants to reach carbon neutrality by 2020.
In the Salesforce deal, the company is buying 80 MW of the output of EDP Renewables’ 205-MW Bright Stalk wind farm in McLean County, Ill., which is due online by the end of 2019. The 15-year PPA is the largest deal to date for the cloud computing company, which has a target of powering all its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2022.
"The remaining capacity, or close to it, for the Bright Stalk project" is also covered under PPAs, EDPR spokeswoman Blair Matocha told Utility Dive. The other buyer, or buyers, are also corporations, but the names have not yet been released.
In July, EDPR signed four corporate PPAs for the output of 405 MW of power from wind farms being developed in Illinois and Indiana, including the Bright Stalk project.
- San Francisco Permanente Kaiser Permanente health system vows to be carbon neutral in 2020
- Chicago Tribune Salesforce invests in wind farm as it grows in Chicago area
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