Renewable PPAs surge despite ‘missed opportunity’, RE100 finds

Power purchase agreements between corporates and renewable electricity generators are surging in popularity throughout Europe, the RE100 has claimed.

However businesses are still missing the opportunity of investing in clean power, leading the group to conclude that PPAs remain a “relatively untapped market”.

The RE100, a collaboration of global businesses committed to procuring 100% of their electricity from renewable sources over the coming years, has released a new report this morning on the progress its member companies have made to those commitments.

The ‘Approaching the tipping point: how corporate users are redefining global electricity markets’ report found that throughout 2016/2017 the amount of electricity procured by European corporates via PPAs effectively doubled to more than 704,000MWh.

The UK has continued to be a strong market for PPAs – nearly two-thirds of the entire European figure (63%) was purchased in the UK – but the RE100 has been quick to point out that despite the surging growth, PPA-procured electricity only made up 4% of total member renewables consumption.

Corporates still predominantly favour purchasing green electricity certificates to meet carbon targets, although on-site generation has too boasted significant growth in 2016/17.

Power from on-site generators including solar PV increased 12-fold in the last year, a rise the RE100 says is in line with global trends but, again, the total amount of electricity sourced this way remains low.

Just 3% of European renewables sourcing originated from on-site generators in 2016/17, equivalent to around 1.1GWh.

Helen Clarkson, chief executive at the Climate Group, said congratulations were in order for RE100 members, arguing that their leadership was “vital” for overcoming the barriers to renewable deployment.

“Rapidly growing demand from world-leading RE100 companies – and increasingly their suppliers and peers – means governments can confidently look to ratchet up targets in 2020 for slashing greenhouse emissions, to deliver on the Paris Agreement,” she said. 

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