By Brian Eckhouse (Bloomberg) — Almost half of the biggest U.S. companies have established clean-energy targets for themselves, according to a report Tuesday from sustainable investors and environmental groups including the World Wildlife Fund.
It’s not just the biggest U.S. companies — 44 percent of the smallest 100 members of the Fortune 500 have also set goals, up from 25 percent in 2014, and 48 percent of the entire list.
Many are finding that renewable energy isn’t just cleaner, it’s also often cheaper. About 190 Fortune 500 companies collectively reported about $3.7 billion in annual savings, according to Power Forward 3.0, a report by WWF, Ceres, Calvert Research & Management and CDP.
“We’re not talking about anecdotal information anymore,” Marty Spitzer, a WWF senior director of climate and renewable energy in Washington, said in an interview. “We’re talking about large, large savings.”
Potential savings and sustainability goals prompted corporations to buy almost 3.7 gigawatts of power generated by clean-energy projects in 2015, and another 2.5 gigawatts last year, almost all from wind and solar, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Technology companies are among the biggest buyers of clean energy. Alphabet Inc.’s Google expects to be powered entirely by clean energy this year. In January, Apple Inc. agreed to buy the output from a proposed 200-megawatt solar farm in Nevada to help power a data center in Reno, Nevada. And Salesforce.com Inc., the San Francisco-based business software company, this month said it has reached net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions.
But it’s no longer just tech companies. About 63 percent of Fortune 100 companies have clean-energy targets, according to the report. Such targets include commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The 190 Fortune 500 companies reported emission reductions equivalent to mothballing 45 coal-fired power plants for a year, according to the report. It also found that 23 of Fortune 500 companies have 100 percent renewable-energy targets.