Corporations bought a record 31.1GW of renewable energy via power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2021, an increase of 24% from the previous year’s record of 25.1GW, according to research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

An Amazon logistics centre in Szczecin, Poland. (Photo by Mike Mareen via Shutterstock)

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of the spend came from the US, driven by the county’s largest technology companies, which collectively signed more than half of the deals. Europe saw a record 8.7GW of deals announced. Corporate renewable electricity sourcing on the continent has been increasing significantly in recent years.

Nearly 140 corporations in 32 different countries announced renewable energy contracts last year, according to BNEF’s 1H 2022 Corporate Energy Market Outlook, with the total volume equivalent to more than 10% of all the renewable energy capacity added globally last year.

For the second year in a row, Amazon was the largest renewable energy buyer globally, announcing 44 off-site PPAs in nine countries, totalling 6.2GW. That brings its total renewable energy PPA capacity to 13.9GW – the 12th-biggest globally among all types of companies, just ahead of French utility EDF. Microsoft and Meta came in second and third, with 8.9GW and 8GW, respectively.

Corporate sustainability commitments are driving the record-breaking renewable energy purchases. In 2021, 67 companies set an RE100 target, a pledge to offset 100% of a company’s electricity demand with renewable energy, bringing the campaign to 355 members across 25 countries. These companies collectively consumed 363 terawatt-hours of electricity annually – more than the UK's entire power generation for the year.