Which states make buying wind power easy for big brands?

We know that big brands are setting ambitious targets for renewable energy procurement. More than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, including WalMart, Google and General Motors, have committed to 100 percent renewable energy targets.

We also know wind energy is the top choice to power their brands.

The latest report from the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) reinforces that more and more companies are procuring renewable energy across the nation, and that they’re choosing to purchase reliable wind energy at a low, stable cost.

The new Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index: State Leadership & Rankings ranks U.S. states based on corporate purchaser access to renewable energy procurement options. These options include utility renewable energy purchase programs, green tariff programs, third-party power purchase agreements (PPA), and onsite deployment.

Overall, companies display a preference to sign wind PPAs to power their facilities, with more than 5,000 MW contracted to date. For example, Google recently announced its worldwide operations will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy in 2017, with 95 percent coming from wind.

Figure 4 (2)

Iowa tops the rankings in the new report. The state is propelled by a world-class wind resource and 548 megawatts (MW) of PPAs that Google and Facebook signed through the state’s utilities. And when we say strong wind resource, we mean that Iowa became the first state to generate more than 35 percent of its electricity from wind.

“Access to low-cost renewable energy is a critical part of our economic development strategy,” said Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds “These job-creating businesses cite our access to low-cost renewable energy as a major reason for locating in Iowa.”

Rounding out the top five after Iowa are Illinois, New Jersey, California, and Texas. The report notes that, in general, states with fully or partially deregulated electricity markets are more attractive to corporate purchasers, as are states with retail electricity choice. Likewise, states that do not impose penalties for onsite renewable energy deployment perform well.

As more companies procure renewable energy, flexibility will be key. Historical AWEA analysis shows that states like Texas successfully attract corporate purchasers because of competitive wholesale markets, retail choice and robust transmission availability. States with attractive policies will continue to see corporate purchaser interest, and will encourage renewable energy growth in the years ahead.

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