21 december 2016

Why is corporate America picking wind power over solar?

* Google, Microsoft, Dow Chemical and other big companies are buying five times more wind than solar electricity in the race to hit ambitious emissions targets

* More than half of the 4,000 megawatts of new wind energy contracts last year, and 3,440 megawatts this year, were signed by companies across industries from tech to grocery chains, according to the wind trade association and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Scott Thill, The Guardian, Wednesday 21 December 2016

Businesses are buying more wind and solar electricity than ever before to help lower their carbon footprint in offices, stores and factories. But the two sources of renewable energy are far from getting equal love from corporate America.

Wind energy has long been the favorite. Businesses, not counting power companies, signed 2,000 megawatts of it in 2015, a jump from 100 megawatts in 2009, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind energy is enabling Google, the largest corporate buyer of renewable electricity in the world, to hit the 100% renewable energy goal, which it expects to achieve next year. The company has inked 2,548 megawatts of wind contracts and 141 megawatts of solar.
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Interest in solar energy is growing, but at a slower rate. Solar contracts shot up to 1,070 megawatts in 2015 from 339 megawatts in 2010, said the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Wind energy has historically been much cheaper than solar, making it a more attractive option, especially when energy can be a major expense for a company. As more businesses come under pressure from their customers, investors or government regulators to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and help rein in global warming, they will be looking for low-carbon energy that can compete with the price of coal and natural gas.


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