Major brands and other emerging non-utility customers signed 52 percent of the wind power capacity contracted through power purchase agreements (PPA) in 2015
Customers driving the new demand for wind energy include Fortune 500 companies, high-tech companies, universities and major US cities. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), non-traditional customers represented the majority of electricity generating capacity through wind PPAs in a given year for the first time. The AWEA’s 2015 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report is set for release on April 12th in Denver, Colorado.
“Every time Americans use the Internet or do laundry, it’s more likely that wind energy made it possible” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Innovation has driven down the price, resulting in phenomenal growth in demand for wind energy from corporate buyers, in large part because it saves them money. Signing a long-term wind contract provides these buyers with a package of benefits—low-cost, fixed-price, clean energy—that’s easy to say "yes" to.”
With wind generated energy two-thirds less expensive than it was in 2009, wind power has become one of the lowest cost sources of energy in particular regions of the US, according to a report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. That means wind energy has become increasingly attractive to organisations intending to reduce their emissions and interested in securing low-cost, fixed-price energy that protects them from fuel price fluctuations.
Demand from corporate buyers and other emerging wind energy customers is growing exponentially. Utilities traditionally buy the largest amount of wind energy overall, but rising demand from Fortune 500 companies and others represents an additional, expanded market.
Corporate buyers who signed PPAs in 2015 include large operations such as Walmart and Dow Chemical as well as high-tech firms such as Google Energy, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce. They join a growing list of cities, including Washington D.C., and academic institutions such as Cornell University and Oklahoma State University.