Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: William Campbell/Corbis/Getty Images

Two recent analyses arrive at the same conclusion: U.S. corporate deals to directly purchase renewable power will shatter previous records this year as companies including Facebook and Apple expand their contracting.

Why it matters: Separate data from the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the consultancy Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) signal how power purchase agreements are emerging as an important driver of wind and solar expansion, even as the White House abandons U.S. climate goals.

Between the lines: Two big forces are driving the increases in direct procurement — corporate environmental pledges and falling renewables costs.

By the numbers:

  • RMI's Business Renewables Center, which helps companies navigate deals, said new corporate procurement so far this year totals 3.86 GW, already outstripping the prior record of 3.12 GW for 2015.
  • BNEF, which uses slightly different methodology, shared data with Axios showing nearly 4.2 GW of U.S. procurement so far this year. (It's part of a wider BNEF analysis noting worldwide corporate purchasing has already set a new record this year.)
  • Both groups say that Facebook has been the biggest player this year, citing their mid-July announcement of a deal with Pacific Power to build 437 MW worth of solar projects to supply an Oregon data center.

What they're saying:

"This trend is somewhat inoculated from federal policy. There's no specific federal policy that incentivizes corporates to pursue large-scale renewable energy transactions per se, and companies are largely pursuing these transactions due to their commitments to corporate social responsibility."
— Kevin Haley, manager, Business Renewables Center

BNEF's analysis similarly notes that many corporate sustainability plans to cut or offset carbon emissions create incentives for supporting renewables projects.

  • "Activity would not approach current levels if there were no opportunity for long-term savings," BNEF adds.

To be sure: In the wider climate context, federal policy matters a lot.

  • This recent Rhodium Group report shows how White House plans to scuttle or weaken several Obama-era rules will knock the U.S. even further off the trajectory to meet the U.S. commitment under the Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%–28% by 2025.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.