The need to power the AI boom will see global tech giants more than triple their already massive demand for renewable energy, predicted the CEO of one of the world's leading wind and solar players.
Brookfield Renewable CEO Connor Teskey said the green arm of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management is expecting to add nearly 18GW of new capacity over the next three years. The majority of the necessary permits and contracts are already in place.
Speaking on Brookfield's latest earnings call, Teskey continued that, with a broader 134GW global development pipeline in hand, the group is “well-positioned” to capture increasing corporate demand for green energy at “attractive prices.”
Brookfield expects demand from large technology companies to increase by more than three times later this decade on the back of growth in the power needed to fuel AI, he said.
“To put this growth into context, we could see the energy load from just one of these large global technology companies with a 100% renewable power target equal to the current load demand of the entirety of the United Kingdom.”
He continued that, “today, demand for clean energy and energy transition is much more a corporate pull than a government push.”
The “narrative” that governments are driving demand for energy transition is incorrect, he said. “It is being driven by the largest, most profit-seeking corporations around the world. Those are the ones with a seemingly insatiable demand for green power and other decarbonisation solutions.”
Quizzed on transmission, the Brookfield Renewable CEO claimed it would have been “almost ridiculous” for renewables developers not to have seen problems with grid congestion coming.
Teskey said that while concerns around interconnection have been “getting more airtime” recently, he would “respectfully suggest that securing grid connection has been a critical component of developing renewables for the last 10 years.”
“Identifying which projects have grid connection, where they sit in the grid queue has always been part of our development process and always something we take into account when buying development pipeline,” said Teskey.
“It should have been baked into everyone's underwriting. It's certainly been baked into ours.”
Development is becoming a bigger part of Brookfield’s business, said Teskey, although he added that “probably north of 80%” is going to continue to come from operating assets.
In June, Brookfield snapped up the unregulated commercial renewables business of Duke Energy, one of the US’ largest wind operators. The deal means Brookfield now has 14GW of green energy operating capacity and 76GW in development capacity in the US.
Brookfield Asset Management also recently partnered with Indian private-sector giant Reliance Industries to explore opportunities involving renewable energy and decarbonisation equipment in Australia.