Business Can Lead on Addressing the Climate Crisis

A recent U.N. report had stark warnings of the effects of the climate crisis on the world’s food supply: More than 500 million people live in areas affected by erosion linked to climate change and more than 800 million people are food insecure, yet nearly a third of the global food supply is wasted or lost. As the U.N. report notes, business leaders must play a role in confronting and resolving these and other environmental challenges.

Now the market has matured. With hundreds of companies committed to reaching 100 percent renewable energy and many more aiming for some sort of renewable target, there are more buyers than ever. And with them comes more deal structures to fit more use cases. (I went into more depth about these trends in the second quarter 2019 tracker.)

Corporate renewable procurements are now so common, it is no longer practical for the casual follower to capture a complete list of contracts. So this quarter, we’re evolving the Clean Energy Deal Tracker to focus on the 10 largest deals we’ve observed for July, August and September.

GreenBiz aimed to create a comprehensive record of every major corporate renewable procurement deal disclosed within the past three months.

Pressure to increase corporate climate leadership played a big part. Most renewable procurement announcements during Q3 coincided with Climate Week NYC, with seven of the 10 major deals all announced within days of one another.

Together, the collective capacity of deals announced that week — 3.7 GW — was significantly more than that of the second quarter of 2019, the largest quarter for renewable procurements at that point, according to the Clean Energy Deal Tracker.

Company commitments are expected to continue to drive the shift to a clean electric grid. Today, renewables only represent 5 percent of the energy used by Fortune 1000 companies. Research from Wood Mackenzie says that there is a “peer pressure” effect, where major companies are creating an atmosphere of “increased market participation” in renewables. As companies play catch-up with the big players, we may see a surge in renewable energy demand — to the tune of 85 GW by 2030, according to WoodMac.

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