An electricity purchase contract (AAE) or an electricity contract is a contract between two parties, one that produces electricity (the seller) and the other that wants to buy electricity (the buyer). The PPP sets out all the terms and conditions for the sale of electricity between the two parties, including when the project will begin operating commercially, electricity delivery schedule, delivery penalties, payment terms and termination. An AEA is the main agreement that defines the revenue and credit quality of a production project and is therefore a key instrument of project financing. There are many forms of PPA in Use Today and they vary according to the needs of the buyer, seller, and financing against the parties.   Data center owners Amazon, Google and Microsoft have used PPAs to offset the emissions and electricity consumption of cloud computing. Some manufacturers with high carbon footprints and energy consumption, such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, have also shown interest in PPAs. In 2017, Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to purchase 220 MW of new wind farms in Mexico through an AEA from energy supplier Iberdrola.  According to BloombergNEF`s latest Corporate Energy Market Outlook, companies around the world purchased a record amount of clean energy through PPAs in 2019. In total, approximately 19.5 gigawatts (GW) have been signed for renewable energy contracts between more than 100 companies in 23 different countries. 13.6 GW were signed in the United States and 2.6 GW in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Figure 18.12. Mesa-Est geothermal power plants from 2014; filled rectangles refer to operating facilities. A POWER Purchase Agreement is a legal contract between an electricity producer (supplier) and an electricity buyer (buyer, usually an electricity supplier or a large electricity buyer/distributor).
Contractual terms can take between 5 and 20 years during which the buyer buys energy and sometimes also capacity and/or ancillary services from the electricity producer. These agreements play a key role in financing assets of own property producing electricity (i.e. not held by a utility company). The seller under the AAE is usually an independent electricity producer or a “PPI.” When a statutory subsidy to an existing plant expires, AAEs are a means of providing follow-up funding for the operation of the facility. This could include operating costs such as maintenance and leasing. Electricity producers enter into AAEs either bilaterally with a consumer company (“Corporate PPA”) or with an electricity distributor who purchases the electricity generated (“Merchant PPA”). The electricity distributor can continue to supply electricity to an electricity consumer (transform it again into a “corporate PPA”) or to negotiate electricity on an electricity exchange. Many international groups are already buying shares in their electricity consumption via AAAs or have announced their intention to do so more frequently (see there100.org/re100). They use AAEs to obtain stable and predictable electricity prices.
AAEs are an effective way to reduce the risk of electricity prices, particularly for operators of high-investment and low-cost facilities (such as photovoltaic and wind power plants). Since electricity payments are already insured to some extent, facility managers and financial banks may be more confident that revenues from the sale of electricity will effectively cover investment costs. This makes the project more cost-effective in the long run. In 1983, Magma signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE), in which SCE purchased all of the electricity that the Magmamax plant could produce.