Amazon led the field of businesses buying green power last year as global corporate renewable energy deals hit a record 23.7GW despite the Covid pandemic, said latest annual figures from BloombergNEF.

The web shopping giant signed 5.1GW of wind and solar corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2020, passing Google as the world’s largest single buyer of green energy.

BloombergNEF said the 2020 global total, up on 20.1GW in 2019 and 13.6GW in 20218, represents “a testament to how high sustainability is on many corporations’ agendas” despite the huge disruptions of the pandemic and uncertainties ahead of the US election.

The US remained the largest single market for corporate renewable deals – but it was far less dominant than in previous years. US deals actually fell for the first time since 2016, down to 11.9GW in 2020 from 14.1GW in 2019.

But the stronger profile elsewhere more than compensated. Corporate PPAs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa tripled to a record 7.2GW last year.

European growth was typified by the deals struck by French oil and gas giant Total for 3GW of Spanish solar – partly owned by itself – to green power supplies to its wider operations, helping to push it to number-two spot overall behind Amazon.

The Asia-Pacific region, long a laggard in corporate PPAs behind the US and Europe, more than doubled its volume year-on-year to 2.9GW, including a stand-out deal by Taiwanese semiconductor giant TMSC for almost 1GW of offshore wind from Orsted.

South Korea is set to be the next key regional market for corporate renewable PPAs thanks to key policy changes enacted early this year, tipped BloombergNEF.

Jonas Rooze, lead sustainability analyst at BNEF, said: “More than ever before, corporations have access to affordable clean energy at a global scale. Companies no longer have an excuse for falling behind on setting and working towards a clean energy target.”