Blue chip firms call for corporate renewable PPA boost in stimulus package

More than 50 companies, including Mars and the owners of major brands such as Ikea and Timberland, have called for the European Union’s Covid-19 economic stimulus package to provide a boost for corporate sourcing of renewable energy.

EU leaders are due to meet on 19 June to discuss a €750 billion economic recovery plan (pic: Nordex)
EU leaders are due to meet on 19 June to discuss a €750 billion economic recovery plan (pic: Nordex)

The companies urged EU leaders to stimulate greater investment from the financial sector and enact policies that support the faster rollout of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) in a forthcoming economic recovery package.

They wrote a letter to the union and national governments ahead of EU leaders meeting next Friday (19 June) to discuss a €750 billion economic recovery plan, which was unveiled by the European Commission at the end of May.

Signatories included more than 40 of Europe’s biggest corporate buyers of renewable electricity — including confectionary giant Mars, Ikea-owner Ingka Group and clothing company VF Corporation, whose brands include the North Face and Timberland — as well as renewable energy suppliers such as Enel and Ørsted.

They called for the package to:

  • Stimulate investment by providing public credit guarantees or risk-sharing for at-risk renewable energy projects;
  • provide policies that support the faster rollout of corporate renewable PPAs; and
  • prioritise funding for electricity infrastructure such as transmission and interconnectors, and digitalisation of distribution networks and storage sites.

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson suggested higher taxes on electricity than gas were another roadblock to renewable energy PPAs and called for this barrier to be removed.

BloombergNEF analysis found that companies used PPAs to purchase six times as much renewable power in the Americas than in Europe last year.

Helen Dewhurst, an analyst at BloombergNEF, told Windpower Monthly that boosting transparency of corporate renewable energy sourcing could provide first-time buyers with the information they needed to be more confident when negotiating transactions. 

She also suggested that more information about which energy suppliers and projects and what PPA structures were available would help would-be buyers.

The Climate Group is a partnership of businesses wanting to accelerate climate action. It oversees the RE100 partnership of companies looking to source enough renewable energy to meet 100% of their electricity demands. Its CEO Helen Clarkson said: “With the right policy measures in place, businesses will channel billions of euros of investment across the continent — slashing emissions and creating the new jobs that we need.”

Meanwhile, WindEurope’s Dickson echoed recent research by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) that suggested wind and solar PV’s cost reductions and cost competitiveness strengthen the economic case for making clean energy a key component of post-virus stimulus packages.

He added: “More and more companies are sourcing their electricity directly from wind farms. It makes sense for them – wind is cheap and scalable."

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