3Degrees, City CarShare Partner to Provide Renewable Energy for EVs

3Degrees, City CarShare Partner to Provide Renewable Energy for EVs

3Degrees will provide Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for new electric vehicles entering City CarShare's fleet later this year.

The first-of-its-kind U.S. partnership provides "a new market for the EV industry, which has been primarily focused on growing ownership base, and a great way to educate the public about RECs," said Mike Harrigan, eFleet Program Manager for City CarShare.

REC purchases provide an important revenue stream to support renewable energy growth. As a primary method to acquire green power, a REC is created for each megawatt-hour (1 MWh, or 1000 kilowatt-hours) or enough to drive an electric vehicle 3,000 miles.

"RECs ensure a renewable energy supplier will match our unique input to the grid," said Harrigan. "We verify that 3 MWh of renewable energy match your use in the car." The EV pairing makes sense as real-time data and on-board tracking of electricity can be used to easily quantify the requirements for retiring RECs.

3Degrees, a market broker for RECs and carbon offsets, is donating 100 RECs to City CarShare for 2012, enough to cover the costs of more than 30 electric vehicles. CRS is the certifying agency supplying a "Green-e" logo -- a legal standard for REC eligibility -- to each EV in the fleet confirming renewable energy has been added to the grid to cover the energy cost of the car.

While EVs are growing in popularity, there has been some discussion that fueling vehicles with electricity is simply shifting emissions upstream to where power is generated.

"That is definitely a myth; EVs are cleaner and help reduce emissions," said John Proctor, director of global communications with Better Place. Indeed, NRDC and several other studies conclude EVs are substantially cleaner than internal combustion vehicles.

For its part, earlier this year, Better Place signed a $60 million, 10-year deal with Australia's ActewAGL Ltd. to supply renewable energy to Better Place's electric car charging network in Canberra.

In introducing a new market opportunity for RECs, Harrigan is hoping City CarShare can be a thought leader to the broader EV and car sharing community. He mentioned rental companies such as Hertz and Enterprise, charging station providers such as Coulomb Technologies and Ecotality, and auto dealerships could follow suit to each supply RECs to prospective EV owners and drivers.

The San Francisco Bay Area based City CarShare currently has about 150 vehicles in its fleet with plans to grow to 350-400 cars in the next five years. The nonprofit plans to convert half its fleet to alternative fuels, with 150-200 vehicles running primarily on electricity.

Photo provided by Center for Resource Solutions