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Corporate Customers Buying Record Amounts of U.S. Wind Capacity

June 16, 2020
In total, businesses signed contracts for nearly 17,000 MW on U.S. wind energy by the end of 2019, up from 800 GW in 2013.

According to the first Wind Powers American Business report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), commercial and industrial companies bought 4,447 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity, setting a record for annual procurements and bringing total corporate agreements for wind power to 16,857 MW, enough to power more than 5 million homes. The report also reveals corporate customers across a variety of industries now purchase 10% of all operating wind capacity in the U.S., as wind power becomes more attractive to businesses striving to meet sustainability targets and improve bottom lines. Since 2013, contracts have grown from fewer than 800 MW to over 16,800 MW at the end of 2019.

“Leading businesses are increasingly relying on wind energy to power their operations, reduce costs to their customers, and help achieve their sustainability goals,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, in the press release.

More than 140 companies have purchased U.S. wind energy. Top customers include Google, with 2,397 MW contracted, followed by Facebook (1,459 MW), Walmart, AT&T and Microsoft.

The types of companies buying wind power is also diversifying. Prior to 2015, technology and retail companies accounted for nearly 80% of corporate wind contracts, while today, they account for 53%. Purchases in the retail, food and beverage and telecommunications sectors have increased drastically. At the end of 2019, the technology sector accounted for 41% of contracts, followed by retail (12%), telecommunications (9%) and food and beverage (9%).

The report also reveals the reason behind the growth of corporate wind purchases – economics. According to the release, wind is now the lowest-cost source of electricity generation in many parts of company, declining by more than -70% since 2009. Additionally, more American consumers care about what powers the companies they are loyal to.

Regardless of growth, there is still much room to grow. Fortune 1000 companies only source 5% of their electricity needs from renewables. According to an analysis from Wood Mackenzie, these companies will procure 85,000 MW of additional renewable power through 2030.

To learn more about the report’s findings, read the original release from AWEA or download a free copy of the report.