A record-breaking year for corporate renewable energy sourcing in Europe

2020 was a great year for renewable electricity

Although COVID-19 brought uncertainty to many industries in the past year, companies proved their long-term commitments to decarbonisation with a remarkable year for renewable electricity procurement in Europe.

1. A record-breaking year for corporate PPAs

2020 was a record-breaking year for corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) announcements in Europe. There were nearly 4 gigawatts (GW) of capacity contracted with PPAs across 12 countries, with Spain leading the pack with more than 1.3 GW announced.

This is a major increase on the previous record of 2.5 GW announced in 2019. Corporate renewable energy is going from strength to strength and we are excited to see companies progress closer towards climate neutrality in 2021.

2. More PPAs signed than ever before

Organisations are realising that one of the best ways to reduce carbon emissions and control long-term electricity costs is with PPAs. In 2020, a record 51 PPAs were signed by 33 different buyers. Amongst those were 28 first-time buyers including Borealis, Orange, and Vodafone.

Amazon announced seven new PPAs totalling 850 megawatts (MW) for wind and solar power purchased across six countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK). This means that they have now contracted more PPA capacity in Europe than any other corporation.

German railway company Deutsche Bahn AG announced four PPAs in Germany, including the country’s first offshore wind PPA and a 30-year solar PPA, the longest-term PPA on record.

3. More sectors entering the market

As the PPA market in Europe becomes more established, more companies see how PPAs can help them to meet their climate and renewable energy goals and become leaders in sustainability. In 2020, buyers signed PPAs across 12 sectors including consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, retail, transport, information technology and heavy industry.

Not only that, but many sectors saw substantial growth. The pharmaceuticals sector, including Bayer and Novartis, witnessed a seven-fold increase in total PPA activity to date, growing from 120 MW to approximately 1 GW signed. The telecommunications sector, including Orange, Telefonica, and Vodafone, also saw almost 350 MW in PPA announcements this year, a vast increase over the previous total of 14 MW signed.


4. Solar lights up the PPA market

Solar power captured 43% of total PPA capacity contracted in 2020, or approximately 1.7 GW, far surpassing last year’s previous record share (29%). Solar PPA announcements were concentrated in Spain with more than 1 GW signed, followed by Germany and France.

Alongside solar power’s remarkable growth, wind power continued to lead with more than 2 GW in PPAs announced (52%). The remaining capacity announced represents hydropower and hybrid wind and solar projects.

5. On-site installations strong across the EU

In 2020, commercial and industrial (C&I) solar installations surpassed 8 GW, adding to a cumulative total of more than 66 GW across the EU. Germany led with more than 2.8 GW installed for the year, followed by the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Greece.

RE-Source is passionate about helping new buyers to contract corporate renewable electricity. Explore our Buyers Toolkit to find informative reports, webinars, advice and a standard template contract.

Within the world of corporate renewable energy sourcing, there are a variety of options to choose from – from cross-border PPAs to on-site installations. Each has its advantages, and you can find out more information on which is right for your company with our reports like Introduction to Corporate Sourcing of Renewable Electricity in Europe.

We will be running a webinar series that will explain various aspects of corporate renewable electricity sourcing. If you are interested in our upcoming webinar series, send us an email and we will add you to our invite list.

Within our Buyers Toolkit we have template contracts in English, Italian, Polish, Spanish and German.

Find out how you can join a growing group of remarkable companies and meet your sustainability goals. Explore our free Buyers Toolkit.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email [email protected]

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