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EU package key to corporate power agreement growth

EUROPE: The number of companies sourcing their power from renewable sources tripled last year, but the law needs to better facilitate businesses striking power deals, WindEurope has argued.

Fifty of Siemens' SWT-3.2-113 at the Tellenes project power Google's European data centres
Fifty of Siemens' SWT-3.2-113 at the Tellenes project power Google's European data centres

Renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs) finalised last year accounted for more than 1GW, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) statistics.

But with the private sector accounting for around half of Europe’s electricity consumption, more needs to be done to enable companies to source their power from wind and solar, WindEurope argued at its RE-Source 2017 event in Brussels.

Greater clarity is needed in legal frameworks regarding corporate renewable PPAs and barriers, it argued.

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, said in the RE-Source 2017 welcome session: "Wind energy producers can supply cheap power today thanks to significant reductions in technology and operating costs in recent years.

"Renewable PPAs help companies source the affordable power they want and at fixed prices reducing their exposure to volatile fossil fuel costs."

His counterpart at SolarPower Europe, Dr James Watson, added: "Corporates are increasingly looking to buy solar power as a cost-effective and competitive source of energy across Europe.

"We must act now to encourage corporates and solar companies to work together, to accelerate the European energy transition and facilitate the growth of European solar power."

Barriers

Only a limited number of large corporates have signed renewable PPAs in Europe, with the bulk of these concentrated in a handful of European countries – mainly Scandinavia and the UK.

In the UK, mobile phone network EE, part of the BT Group, signed a five-year PPA for 680MW of wind- and solar-generated electricity with Innogy subsidiary Npower on 9 October. Google last year agreed to buy all the power generated from the 160MW Tellenes wind farm in Norway to power its European data centres.

But in some countries, such as Germany – which leads Europe in installed wind capacity – it is unclear whether PPAs are legal, WindEurope argued.

Furthermore, the EU’s new Renewables Directive – part of the European Union’s (EU’s) proposed Clean Energy Package – would require governments to remove legal barriers to PPAs.

The trade body added that getting the Clean Energy Package right was key to "unlocking the massive growth potential of PPAs".

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson added: "There are still barriers to PPAs.

"The Clean Energy Package is an opportunity to remove these and ensure PPAs can really flourish."

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