Corporations signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy totalling 5.4GW in 2017, up from 4.3GW the previous year, according to research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

BNEF said in its ’Corporate Energy Market Outlook’ that 43 companies in 10 different countries agreed PPAs for clean power last year.

The growth was driven by sustainability initiatives and the increasing cost-competitiveness of renewables, the research said.

Since 2008, corporates have signed contracts totalling almost 19GW, with 76% of the purchases having taken place from 2015.

The US accounted for 2.8GW of the 2017 PPAs, up 19% on 2016. More than 1GW of corporate renewables contracts were signed in Europe last year, with 95% coming from the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Most of the 3.2GW signed in Asia was in India, while Japan and China “continue to have few corporate procurement opportunities due to regulatory barriers”, BNEF said.

The researchers expect corporate PPA volumes to increase in 2018 and surpass 2017’s levels.

BNEF corporate energy strategy analyst Kyle Harrison said: “The growth in corporate procurement, despite political and economic barriers, demonstrates the importance of environmental, social and governance issues for companies.”

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