Seattle based technology giants Amazon and Microsoft are the global leaders in the clean energy power purchase agreement signed last year. Amazon topped the list for the second year in a row with a total purchase of 6212 megawatts (MW) or 6.2 gigawatts (GW). Microsoft followed with 6155 megawatts.
The two cloud computing giants have purchased a total of 12.4 GW of wind and solar energy. In contrast, the state of Washington has a total summer generation capacity of 30.7 GW.
The PPA data is from Bloomberg Nef (bnef). According to the statistics of the research company, the total amount of carbon free energy transactions of enterprises reached a record of 31.1 GW in 2021, an increase of 24% over the previous year.
This makes Pacific Northwest tech duo prefer solar energy to wind energy. Solar energy accounts for 56% of Microsoft’s transactions in 78% of Amazon’s solar energy acquisition agreements.
“We commend the technology giants for their continuous efforts to decarbonize energy and pursue ambitious new goals, such as 100% carbon free energy. They took the lead in using power purchase agreements to achieve renewable energy goals and paved the way for other industries,” Bryce Smith said, CEO of levelten energy, headquartered in Seattle, via email.
According to Bloomberg Nef, the total capacity of Amazon’s clean energy agreement is 13.9 GW, that of Microsoft is 8.9 GW, and that of Facebook’s parent company meta is 8 GW.
Amazon reported last December that it has 274 clean energy projects worldwide, including 105 utility scale wind and solar projects, as well as the solar roofs of 169 facilities and stores.
Microsoft bought 250 megawatts of electricity from volt energy last year, the first utility scale solar purchase agreement Microsoft signed with a solar company led by African Americans.
According to a recent report by levelten energy, increased demand for renewable energy and tightening supply markets are pushing up agreed prices. Levelten energy is a company that helps facilitate electricity transactions between renewable energy buyers, sellers, consultants and financiers.
But the company agreement is still being signed. Levelten found in a customer survey that “the main reason why corporate buyers are still committed to ensuring (power purchase agreements) is to have a direct and measurable impact by introducing new clean energy projects into the grid.”
These transactions help the company meet its carbon emission reduction commitments. They also have a positive impact on the overall efforts to decarbonize the power grid. This is because they are signed when the facility is under planning or construction but not yet operational, providing financial support for this work.
Amazon and Microsoft aim to use 100% renewable energy in all businesses by 2025.
Microsoft went further in July and promised to use clean energy 24 hours a day by 2030, which is a commitment made by Google in 2020. This commitment is important because while companies can support solar and wind projects, when these facilities do not generate electricity, technology companies may eventually get electricity from coal or natural gas.