Making a deal: wind energy power purchase agreements

Continuing on my wind energy tour through Colorado, if this past weekend was all about family farms and wind power, today was all about where the electricity from those farms might go.

In 2015, non-utility purchasers accounted for 52 percent of the megawatts contracted under wind power purchase agreements (PPAs), and that number jumped to 75 percent during the year’s fourth quarter. In what has become a full-blown trend, Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Procter & Gamble and General Motors are all contracting wind energy.

To further explore this development, we met with Renewable Choice Energy, based in Boulder, CO.

Renewable Choice is a buyer’s agent that helps companies enter into renewable energy PPAs. It has helped companies procure over one gigawatt of clean energy, and more and more businesses are looking to make this move.

Renewable Choice’s president and chief operating officer Peter Dignan told us that at first, businesses were looking to procure wind energy because they wanted to meet internal sustainability goals. However, as wind power’s costs have fallen, they’re increasingly looking to buy it to improve their bottom lines. Companies appreciate the stability wind provides because its costs are constant over many years. That allows for better long-term strategic planning.

A variety of businesses are also going the clean energy route. From tech companies to manufacturers, we’re now seeing buyers across the spectrum.

Corporate buyers represent a new source of demand for wind energy, and the trend doesn’t seem like it will slow down any time soon. It’s possible to save money while becoming cleaner, and more companies are following those who have already blazed the trail.