Not just for corporates – European cities, universities, and public transport signing PPAs

As the European corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) market grows, we are seeing a more diverse group of organisations signing PPAs, including cities, universities, and state-owned transportation groups.

Building greener cities

Last year, the City of London (not to be confused with London, the City of London is a smaller area home to much of the UK’s financial services industries) signed a PPA with Voltalia to source renewable electricity from a 49 megawatt (MW) solar farm in Dorset.

The £40 million deal will help the City to save around £3 million in energy costs over the 15-year lifespan of the deal. The energy will go to power iconic buildings such as the Barbican arts centre.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management recently announced a PPA with Eneco for a 22-turbine wind farm in the Port of Rotterdam. The wind energy will be used to power bridges, street lighting, sluices and offices.

As WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said, “It is not just private companies that sign PPAs, Governments do it too.”

Outside of Europe, PPAs have been signed by a variety of cities and public institutions. Cincinnati, Ohio, signed a PPA to purchase electricity from a 100 MW solar farm east of the city. Melbourne signed a collective PPA, alongside banks and universities, to enable the construction of an 80 MW wind farm in western Victoria.

With more cities pledging to become climate neutral, there are sure to be more PPAs signed between local authorities and renewable power producers.

Renewable PPAs – the educated choice

Back in 2019, 20 UK universities signed a consortia PPA with Statkraft to buy clean energy from wind farms located in Wales and Scotland. By joining together, the universities achieved economies of scale and gained access to lower-cost renewable energy.

Anglia Ruskin University, one of the universities that was part of the deal, has declared a climate emergency and plans to be climate neutral by 2030.

James Rolfe, chief operating officer at Anglia Ruskin University, said, “To support this commitment we aim to source all of our electricity from zero carbon sources by 2025, and this power purchase agreement makes a significant contribution towards this goal whilst delivering financial savings and budget stability.”

This deal marked the first time European public sector institutions signed a consortia PPA but we’re confident it won’t be the last. Universities are releasing ambitious climate policies and pledging to reduce their emissions. Clean electricity is a key part of achieving that.

All aboard for a greener future

SNCF Energie, a subsidiary of French rail operator SNCF Voyageurs, signed a PPA with EDF Renouvelables this April to buy electricity from a 20 MW solar plant in southern France.

The plant, scheduled to come online in 2023, will provide SNCF with the equivalent of half the electricity required for their high-speed trains to travel between Paris and Lille each year.

SNCF chairman and chief executive Jean-Pierre Farandou said, “We are proud to contribute through this contract signed with the EDF group to the creation of additional solar photovoltaic capacities in France, which will contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in France and in Europe.”

Taking the train was already the environmentally friendly option, now it’s even better.

As we can see from the variety of companies signing PPAs, long-term renewable power agreements can bring environmental and economic benefits to everyone.

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