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72% of large businesses want renewables

Staff writer |
Almost three out of four large U.S.-based corporations in a new survey plan to pursue renewables over the next two years.

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But experts differ regarding the validity of the survey's conclusions and how they might affect wholesale power prices, Platts reports.

PwC, a global accounting and consulting firm, on Tuesday released "Corporate renewable energy procurement survey insights," which shows that 72% of the firms "are actively pursuing additional renewables purchase," and that 63% of respondents said they have become more inclined to purchase renewables over the past six months.

George Favoloro, a PwC managing director who led the survey, said in an email Wednesday that it "was designed to focus on corporations who are engaged in the renewables market (i.e., either are actively in the purchase process, or plan to do so in the future) because it's their needs and intentions that [are] determining what is being bought."

PwC solicited responses from about 200 companies and received responses from 63 of them, Favoloro said. Of that number, 62% have more than $10 billion in annual revenue, and 68% spend more than $100 million a year on energy.

The largest industry group was involved in information, communication and technology, at 23%, followed by 14% in retail and 11% in manufacturing.

Eric Smith, Tulane Energy Institute associate director, said, "I think this survey falls in the category of 'confirmation bias,'" as 59% of individuals responding were involved with sustainability efforts, versus 3% in operations.

"It's a bit like asking an auditor if he thinks the company is spending enough on audits."

But the high percentage of companies reported to be pursuing renewables was "not too surprising" to Gavin Dillingham, a research scientist at the Houston Area Research Center focusing on clean energy policy.

"The numbers may be a bit optimistic, but probably not off too much," Dillingham said in an email Wednesday.