The day started with a primer on pricing corporate PPAs led by Pexapark, where topics ranged from balancing, cannibalisation and liquidity premium to multi-country sourcing.
Before lunch, a packed discussion on financing and bankability had no less than eight industry experts giving their input. In case you missed it, read our detailed twitter thread here. For now, the broad strokes: Elizabeth Reid, Partner at Bird & Bird, confidently asserted the continued bankability of renewable PPAs in 2020: “Corporates are less sensitive to short term fluctuations. The pandemic has even driven up the demand for corporate PPAs because it has driven carbon reduction targets and going green right to the front of the agenda. There’s also an appetite now for investing in safe, long-term assets and therefore investing more in renewables. Also, some of the corporates that are most involved with renewable PPAs grew throughout the pandemic. The tech sector and Amazon retail have huge and ambitious carbon reduction targets and are invested in the renewable PPA market in positive and aggressive way.”
Tom Tindall, VP, Markets, Regulation and Commercial, Europe at Brookfield Renewable, agreed from the perspective of developers and contractors: “From this perspective, 2020 was a good year. We’ve seen a greater variety of corporates interested in renewable PPAs and a 40% increase in corporates with science-based climate and renewables targets.” The panel concurred that the financing and bankability of PPAs in Europe, with the right tailored approach, is very much in good hands.
After lunch, we reconvened for another great panel session on “Demonstrating Impact”. If companies want to show leadership in the transition towards 100% renewable electricity, this involves demonstrating an impactful strategy with verified renewable energy claims to internal and external audiences. Stefan Degener, Managing Director First Solar GmbH / VP EMEA Region at First Solar, spoke about the importance of having a standardised mark for transparency and the efficient communication of sustainability across the whole value chain: “Six modules by First Solar have reached silver status on EPEAT. This is a standard to classify environmental and social impacts. We see demand for this from developers. These standards help transparency and simplifies the process for selecting the right technology.”
Michele Bologna, Head of Global Communication at Enel Green Power, spoke about ‘going the extra mile’ and being clear about this in communications: “Building and operating renewable energy plants doesn’t automatically mean sustainability. We need to ensure our construction sites are also powered by renewables. Water, waste management and energy to run construction site must be run by renewables.” Get more soundbites on our twitter thread here.
This afternoon also saw another workshop, in partnership with RECS International, which covered Guarantees of Origin (GOs). GOs are an essential part of the transition that corporates are going through, especially those that are just starting their journey toward supplying their operations with electricity from renewable energy sources. Eva Klesse, Senior Account Manager at KlimaInvest Green Concepts GmbH, stated: “A PPA is not green without a guarantee of origin. In Germany, for example, we have a big market for companies and stakeholders that don’t have the ability to go for PPAs. They need another tool. GOs are the other possibility beside PPAs.”
The workshop also concluded that the green consumer base is still rapidly growing in Europe., despite the pandemic: “After the Fridays for Future demonstrations, every major German city has a utility that must be able to offer green energy to consumers. All utilities in Germany offer a green electricity product for the consumer is the pressure is too high not to.” (Eva Klesse).
Join us tomorrow for the final day of RE-Source 2020! Do not miss this last chance to network, workshop, talk, debate and learn from others. We will focus on “Moving towards 24/7 corporate sourcing of renewable electricity” in an opening workshop, delve into European Markets Germany, France, UK, Poland, Spain, Italy with the opportunity to engage in a direct Q&A, and finish with a contemplation of the future, in a panel on future energy strategies and procurement. We’ll see you there!