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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 8 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.