In news that will come as no surprise to regular readers of Advanced Energy Perspectives, major U.S. companies from coast to coast are committing to advanced energy. Household names like Amazon, IKEA, Walmart, and financial giants like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are choosing advanced energy for the same reason they do anything else: good economic sense. This week, Amazon flips the switch on New Jersey’s largest rooftop solar array, and the RE100 list, the list of companies that have committed to “go 100% renewable,” tops 100 companies, capping a summer that began with Goldman Sachs signing a wind power purchase agreement (PPA). It’s the big business of advanced energy in this week’s post.
This week, Amazon announced that the internet retail giant had brought the Garden State’s largest rooftop solar installation online. The 30-acre roof of the company’s warehouse in Cartaret, N.J. now boasts 22,000 solar panels that can provide up to 7.5 MW of electricity – enough to power the entire facility. Amazon, an AEE member, worked with Sol Systems, a leading solar financer and installer, to build the enormous array.
“It's been a really challenging and long experience to build something like this,” Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz said in an interview with NJ.com. “The end result is pretty elegant and magnificent at the same time.”
Amazon plans to install solar systems on 50 warehouse rooftops all over the world by 2020, with 15 installations to come online this year. By the end of 2017, Amazon warehouse rooftops plan to be generating up to 41 MW.
It’s the same story all over. Associated Press ran a piece, “Corporate America Sees Bright Future in Renewable Energy,” by Travis Hoium of Motley Fool, who said:
“In 2017, the largest companies in the world are tripping over themselves to jump on the renewable energy bandwagon, and they aren't doing it because they want to cut back on fossil fuel usage. They're doing it because the dollars and cents make renewable energy a no-brainer.”
As evidence Hoium runs down a list of corporations that have committed to advanced energy this year: Anheuser Busch announced in March that it would choose advanced energy and source 100% of its electricity from renewable generation, Ikea opened another enormous rooftop solar array earlier this year (the largest in Illinois!), Apple, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, LEGO, and Nike have also taken the plunge.
Goldman Sachs was a longtime investor in advanced energy before taking the plunge to commit itself. Back in 2014 we covered a $40 billion investment in advanced energy, in 2015, Fortune Magazine covered the company’s $150 billion investment in advanced energy and its commitment to 100% renewable energy. Earlier this summer, the company signed a PPA with NextEra Energy Resources for a 68 MW wind farm in Pennsylvania. The deal is structured as a collaboration between Goldman Sachs’ Corporate Services and Real Estate department and J. Aron, the company’s commodities trading group, with J. Aron providing commodity risk management.
“By leveraging the firm’s intellectual capital and J. Aron’s expertise in power markets, we were able to structure the agreement in a way that allowed us to meet our operational and sustainability goals through a creative, market-based solution,” Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs said in a statement.
Goldman Sachs isn’t the only Wall Street powerhouse investing heavily in advanced energy. GreenBiz reports that JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., is planning to make investments in advanced energy technologies that will ensure all electricity it uses by 2020 is generated by renewable resources. JPMorgan, like Goldman Sachs, is also helping to finance other companies’ transitions, to the tune of $200 billion by 2025. The firm has already begun, providing AEE member Apple with a $1 billion bond earlier this year to help move the company’s supply chain toward being powered 100% by advanced energy generation.
There are now more than 100 companies on the RE100 list, the list that compiles all the major corporations looking to power their operations entirely with technologies like wind and solar. The 102 companies will be looking to make the transition between now and 2050, though most are doing it much sooner than that, most before 2030. Most recently joined is Colorado-based Vail Resorts, the first tourism and travel company on the list. In the words of Nike, which committed in 2015 to have its facilities 100% powered by renewable generation by 2025, “Just Do It.”
The next decade is sure to be one of change for the advanced energy industry. Next week, watch for AEE news about corporate buyers working to tackle policy challenges. Keep up with AEE’s weekly newsletter!