It's a buyer's market for renewable energy procurement

Renewable energy in a market setting
Shutterstock think4photop
Renewable energy supply is high; it's the demand that needs some catching up.

This article is drawn from the Energy Weekly newsletter from GreenBiz, running Thursdays.

Make the renewable energy procurement process simpler.

It's a common wish among the corporate clean energy specialists that I have the privilege of interviewing in my role at GreenBiz.

None of them are exactly sitting around waiting for some fairy godmother to write their happy ending. That's why we're seeing all sorts of creative arrangements, such as the plan foodservice company Sysco adopted in June to invest in 25 megawatts of new solar.

And it's why renewable energy purchases by commercial and industrial accounts continue to emerge almost every week: indeed, businesses already have disclosed at least 31 transactions for solar, wind and other renewable generating sources this year.

Put another way, we've seen more contracts for clean power in the first half of 2018 than for all of 2017, according to ongoing research by the Rocky Mountain Institute's Business Renewables Center. You can read more in our quarterly deal tracker, featured in today's stories.

One model that many companies are especially eager to see mature is aggregation — deals in which multiple companies come together in order to sign up for the power generated by a new solar or wind project. The notion is that this sort of deal structure will enable more midsize and smaller organizations to more directly procure renewable energy, allowing them to get beyond strategies that force them to buy unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs) to meet their clean power targets.

John Hoekstra, vice president of sustainability and cleantech services for Schneider Electric, which has been an adviser on many power purchase agreements that have come to light this year, said developers and finance organizations are waking up to the need for these new deal structures.

You can think of it as another form of crowdsourcing. Not only are the offtake requirements becoming much smaller (think less than 20 MW), the tenure requirements are becoming shorter. "It makes the market more accessible," Hoekstra said.  

You can take this story off the fairy-tale shelf and refile it under non-fiction.

Speaking of reading, here are five articles and blog posts that might tickle your fancy:

  1. I'll be dammed. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power wants to turn the legendary Hoover Dam into a massive energy storage project, courtesy of a proposed $3 billion retrofit that would equip the project with a pump station powered by solar and wind energy. (The New York Times)
  2. Bloom blossoms in IPO. Shares of the fuel cell maker soared more than 50 percent in the company's NYSE trading debut. (GreenBiz)
  3. Angst in Arizona. The state's largest public utility is suing to kill a ballot measure that would set state renewable power requirements. (Phoenix New Times
  4. To consolidate or not to consolidate? California is considering a plan to become part of a regional grid "authority" that would manage the electricity markets for most of the West Coast. But critics are worried the plan actually could slow the transition to renewables. (NYTimes)
  5. This is our future. A dialogue with teenagers at the hear of Zero Hour, the burgeoning youth movement focused on environmental justice.  (The New Yorker)

You have the power ... to nominate a person or company for our VERGE Vanguard Awards, honoring innovators and pioneers in clean energy, zero-emissions transportation and the circular economy. But it's lights out Aug. 3, when the application window officially closes.