'Corporate' market for clean energy grows

The trend of companies procuring clean energy to save on their power bills, and to meet their sustainability goals, is intensifying globally, and in India. As many as 15 power purchase agreements for clean energy were signed by companies around the world in April 2018, adding up to more than one gigawatt. The total clean energy procurement by corporates so far in 2018 has reached 3.3 gigawatts. Most of this is in the US, and is for wind.

In India, Mumbai Metro committed to buy 50 megawatts last month from the solar plant to be set up in Dhule district of Maharashtra. Details are scanty. Jamia Millia Islamia decided to opt for solar on its rooftops earlier this year. Sunsource Energy will install and maintain the over 2.5 megawatts installation “at zero cost to the university” that will supply power at Rs 3.39 per unit for 25 years, according to a statement from the university. 

One of the largest corporate procurement deals signed in India was by Delhi Metro, which committed to buy power from the 750 megawatts Rewa solar plant in Madhya Pradesh. Having Delhi Metro as a buyer of power, in addition to the state utility, gave comfort to investors, even as the metro company was able to tap into very low tariffs. “This was the first time for Delhi Metro to enter into a long-term power purchase agreement taking on some project risk. The Rewa project is expected to result in about Rs 7.75 billion of savings over the term of the contract” for Delhi Metro, said Bhanu Mehrotra, global sector lead for PPP (public-private-partnership) advisory for solar and wind at the International Finance Corp. IFC was the transaction adviser for the Rewa Plant.

Oil refineries and steel companies are being tapped for buying power for the next set of large solar projects that IFC is involved with in its advisory capacity. Indian Railways is also a possible purchaser, according to Mehrotra.   

Globally, the companies that signed to buy clean energy in April 2018 included Walmart, Google, Target — all solar — while Ingersoll Rand contracted for wind power.

There are 131 companies which have committed to be powered completely by renewables under the RE100 initiative. These include Walmart, Google, Facebook, Ikea, Nike and Microsoft.

Apple announced last month that it was now 100 per cent powered by renewable energy. “This achievement includes retail stores, offices, data centres and co-located facilities in 43 countries — including the US, the UK, China and India,” it said in a statement. Apple’s manufacturing partners are also moving towards a 100 per cent renewables target. 

In India, three companies have so far committed to be 100 per cent renewable energy powered: Infosys, Tata Motors and Dalmia Cement, according to the RE100 website.

The author is editor, Global Policy, for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. She can be reached at vgombar@bloomberg.net

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