Natalia Kniazhevich and Brian Eckhouse (Bloomberg) -- U.S. tech giants including Alphabet Inc.’s Google led the way as corporations raised the amount of clean energy they bought in 2019 by about 40%. Moving forward, peer pressure by asset managers led by BlackRock Inc. could boost it even more.
Corporations and public institutions globally acquired a record 19.5 gigawatts of clean energy through long-term power-supply agreements in 2019, easily beating a record set in 2018, according to a report Tuesday by BloombergNEF. Google topped the list with contracts for more than 2.7 gigawatts, roughly equaling the power of three nuclear reactors.
In a letter to CEOs this month, BlackRock Chief Executive Larry Fink said his firm, with $7.4 trillion in assets under management, would prioritize climate change as a “defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects” and that a global climate emergency might upend business sooner than expected.
“When investors like BlackRock make commitments, everyone below them doesn’t have a choice but to follow,” Kyle Harrison, the report’s lead author, said in an interview. At the same time, he said a wide range of companies are now “getting pressure from their investors, employees and from companies within their supply chain.”
While tech companies dominated clean-energy procurement, a growing number of oil and gas companies are signing deals, including Occidental Petroleum Corp., Chevron Corp. and Energy Transfer Partners LP.
The U.S. wasn’t the only growing market for power-supply agreements in 2019. Europe, the Middle East and Africa all had record years in 2019, according to the BloombergNEF report. In Latin America, which recorded three-fold growth, Brazil and Chile have emerged as top markets.
“Corporations have purchased over 50GW of clean energy since 2008,” Jonas Rooze, lead sustainability analyst at BNEF, said in statement. “That is bigger than the power generation fleets of markets like Vietnam and Poland.”