The Blog


The following is a word from our founder about our new Renewable Integration Service Evaluation.

Dear Friends:

I am writing to tell you about an exciting new energy advisory service now available through RPD.

It’s called RISE, or Renewable Integration Service Evaluation, and it offers corporate electricity buyers a 90 day fixed- price no-obligation review of their options for buying physical renewable electricity.

We designed this product to provide companies with a timely, cost-effective way to cut through the confusion that often surrounds the decision to “go green” and get straight to the bottom line.

The Origin of RISE

During the last three years, RPD has gained a wide range of experience in serving the corporate market for renewable electricity. We have worked with data centers, warehouse businesses, hospitals, big box retailers, universities, and grocery chains all across the country. We know the options, from on-site installation to off-site power purchase agreements (real or virtual). From direct access products to green tariffs to fractional energy contracts to community solar and more.

We understand what is involved in buying wholesale versus retail, and the various regulatory rules that apply to different state and regional electricity grids.

In short, RPD has a deep first hand knowledge of the renewable electricity business as a commercial player, and not simply as a consultant or a policy advocate.  We think that gives RPD and its professional staff – which together have over 80 years of power sector experience – a leg up on many other energy advisers.

So as more and more companies begin to look for the best way to green their electricity spend, we thought this was a good time to begin sharing our knowledge with as many businesses as possible.

What is RISE?

Let me add one final note: RPD is offering RISE as an independent, no-obligation service. RISE is not affiliated or backed by any renewable developer or supplier and is technology neutral.

RISE is also customer-driven and can be used to evaluate any physical renewable energy options selected by a customer, whether or not they include any product offered by RPD.

In short, we want RISE to work for you. I hope you’ll take the time to see if RISE makes sense for your business by following this link.

Kind regards,

Greg Staple

Founder and Chairman, RPD

The reaction to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is in many cases understandably emotional and passionate. The reality is, however, that American solutions to help mitigate climate change lie not in the White House, but in our offices. The inexorable move toward clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainability is being driven not by governments — but by consumer choice. Corporate greenhouse gas reduction (GHG) goals are now embedded in the fabric of businesses all across America by a commitment to drive profitability and efficiency, as well as meet the demands of company stakeholders and customers. Jobs in the renewable energy sector are rising rapidly. Corporations have found a social responsibility conscience as their customers and employees from the mail room to the board room support the move away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

Our ability to scale renewable energy in the U.S. lies in our own energy market, not just Paris. Providing meaningful access to physical renewable power for all energy consumers at a competitive price will do more to place energy at the center of corporate and personal sustainability objectives than one President or the other. Politics cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube as long as the market continues to meet demand with more efficient, profitable, and cleaner solutions.

The U.S. is unequivocally a major global emitter of greenhouse gases. From the outcry of the last twenty-four hours, we can see that well over half the States and many large corporations remain committed to keeping their GHG reduction goals in place. For the past few years, companies like Intuit and Iron Mountain, as well as other players from the tech, manufacturing, and retail sectors have committed to a reduction or at least no increase in GHG emissions by increasing their use of renewable energy and decreasing their overall energy use through cost-effective efficiency measures. Homeowners and small businesses are increasingly seeking clean energy alternatives from their electricity providers, while energy retailers look to offer greener products at affordable prices. Corporations and energy retailers still have the ability to take an environmental leadership and stewardship role by entering into simple, transparent agreements for physical renewable energy with RPD, customized for their needs and more flexible than PPAs or onsite installations. The bottom line is that today’s energy market offers the right environment to scale renewable energy generation and offer green energy solutions.

The power to change our world has always been in the hands of the people… and it still is.

We are proud to share some exciting news about RPD’s growing commercial success.

2016 was transformative for RPD: our innovative medium-term contracts for slices of physical renewable energy plus RECs won significant new backing from major corporate buyers.

At year’s end, RPD’s total sales of green electricity topped 200,000 MWh with energy committed to customers from a diverse mix of renewable facilities in the mid-Atlantic states (PJM), Texas (ERCOT) and California (CAISO). The total value of the energy and RECs covered by RPD’s contracts is now over $7 million.

In 2016 we also opened a new sales office in Houston and recruited a top-flight management team with decades of energy industry experience: Eric Alam, our CEO; Mark Mancino, our VP of Sales, and Mike Adcock, our VP of Supply. This new management team has already put RPD on the map.

RPD has now established itself as the leading national provider of fractional green energy capacity to commercial and industrial customers from large renewable power installations. In 2017, we plan to accelerate our growth because we know that the great majority of corporate buyers do not need (and cannot afford) to contract for the output of an entire utility-scale wind or solar facility.

So please help us get the word out about RPD’s alternative green energy contracts. Follow us and link to us through our social media outlets on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter; we will continue to share news and market information as the year unfolds.

Happy New Year!

Following this month’s Presidential election, some observers have suggested that the U.S. renewable energy industry may face stiff head winds. Existing tax credits could be revisited, limits on global warming pollution are in jeopardy, and renewable energy targets might be relaxed.

On the other hand, others believe that if the federal commitment to reduce global warming pollution stalls or is diminished, voluntary actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions – such as green power purchases – will increase. After all, we know that a large majority of Americans, regardless of political party, have a positive view of wind and solar energy.

During the next year, we will begin to get a better sense as to which of these perspectives is more accurate. Whatever the outcome, however, we strongly believe that RPD’s business will continue to grow for one simple reason: our products provide major energy users with a valuable choice.

Some buyers will choose RPD’s green energy contracts primarily for economic reasons, for example, because they want to hedge their energy costs, reduce market risks or lock in an attractive price.

Others will buy our renewable products primarily for environmental reasons. They will do so to meet corporate sustainability targets, to reduce their carbon footprint or to promote a greener brand and build good will among employees and customers.

No matter the reason, RPD will continue to gain market share because energy users want choice. They want to be able to buy electricity with contracts that are right sized – in terms of volume and term – for their own needs. And they want green contracts that are price competitive with grid power, and structured to minimize their risk and meet their objectives.

In short, because RPD’s green energy contracts simply make good business sense, we know that they will be in demand under our next President just as they have been under the current one.

The last year was a good one for RPD. Our customer base is growing and our Houston office is open for business. So as you work through the implications of this election, we welcome the opportunity for a dialog about how RPD can provide a better energy choice for your company in the year ahead.

 

Many electricity consumers, including corporate buyers, are often uncertain about what it means to purchase a “renewable electricity” product.

How to buy real green energy

As explained below, one way to avoid confusion is to buy green power from a supplier, such as RPD, that (1) has a direct business relationship with a wind or solar generator; and (2) has created a contractual path across the electricity grid to the end user for that generator’s physical power and associated environmental credits. Given the physics of the power grid, this is the only way for end users to be certain that their money is actually benefiting a chosen off-site renewable facility and their electricity spend is having a direct impact, putting more renewable power on the grid.

This type of verifiable renewable electricity product — a product that is based on a direct contract path between a specific generator and the consumer — avoids confusion. It is also easier to explain this kind of purchase to employees, customers and the media and, thus to enhance the buyer’s green reputation. That is not the case, however, with many other so-called “renewable electricity” products.

Know the product: RECs are not the same as energy

As shown by a recent consumer fraud investigation by the Illinois Attorney General, many alternative electricity suppliers do not actually source physical green power to back up their “renewable electricity” claims. Moreover, in the Illinois case, the retailer investigated by the state’s consumer fraud office falsely advertised that its green product was generated exclusively from renewable energy sources. But, according to investigators, the electricity provided actually came “from a variety of sources from the electric grid” and was then “paired with the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) – which represent proof that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated [for each REC] from a renewable energy source.”

In other words, Illinois consumers who thought they were exclusively buying wind or solar power were actually getting resold grid power (which may have included fossil fuel or nuclear power), together with RECs (which may not have even been produced by a generator feeding the Illinois grid).

The Illinois investigation was primarily concerned with consumer fraud — namely, the failure of the retailer to accurately disclose the source of its “renewable electricity” product. State officials later conceded that because an “energy source cannot be traced once the electricity has been added to the grid”, an electricity product that consists of grid power plus grid related RECs may still be marketed as “renewable electricity”, provided that the retailer plainly discloses the product’s composition. (Click here for the state’s voluntary agreement with the retailer.)

There is a better approach: Follow the money

We think that Illinois officials may have conceded too much. While it is true that the laws of physics do not allow one to track the path of electrons across a large electric grid from a renewable facility to the end-consumer, one can track the ownership of the power via the associated contracts and financial flows. These contracts cover the rights to the physical power as well as the associated RECs.

Given the above, RPD believes that when it comes to determining whether a product for off-site wind or solar power is really “renewable electricity” or not, it is logical to look at the physical power itself. Who owns it? Is there a contract path between the renewable producer and the ultimate consumer for both the electricity and the associated RECs ?

Moreover, because the dollar value of the physical electricity itself is typically 95% or more of the total contract price, we think the contract for the electricity should be the key to determining whether a product truly deserves to be defined as “renewable electricity”. In short, follow the money. After all, you want to know that your purchase is actually benefiting a specific renewable generator and providing an off take market for their power as well as the RECs as the best way to promote and support the market adoption of renewable energy.

Summing up: Choose real renewable power

So here is the main take away from this post: Whether you are a corporate buyer trying to green your own supply or a retailer looking to source power for a mass market renewable product, RPD can help you avoid confusion.

We only represent physical renewable electricity that is dedicated to the grid, on behalf of a customer, from specific wind or solar generators. In addition, unless otherwise agreed by a customer, this power is bundled with RECs that are produced from the same dedicated renewable sources during the same time period, making them concurrent with the customer’s consumption.

Thus, each month, every MWh consumed is matched with the concurrent RECs and the underlying physical power delivered to the grid by the chosen renewable generator. And that generator is dedicated to supporting the customer’s load for the entire contract term. That’s what we call real renewable electricity.

To learn how RPD’s real and verifiable renewable electricity products can help your business, please contact our sales team.

California often provides a window on the future. The energy sector is no exception.

Learning from California

During the last year, a new breed of California power company has begun to attract a growing volume of business because it offers customers more green power, and often at lower prices than local utilities charge for a browner electricity mix from the regional grid.

The new companies are known as community choice providers and they have been created by over 25 cities and four counties. Based on California’s enabling legislation, these companies can directly source power on a wholesale basis on behalf of local users, very much like Renewable Power Direct.

Most importantly, perhaps, the community choice providers can offer up to 100% green power because they are authorized to create an independent electricity supply chain — buying power wholesale from renewable generators in California, typically based on competitive RFPs, and then reselling the power, primarily to local residential and small business customers.

That’s essentially how RPD works too. As with California’s community choice companies, RPD also sources its own wholesale power for users by directly contracting with renewable generators; the power is then resold to commercial and industrial consumers connected to the same electric grid.

Green choices for business

We think this new type of electric supply chain will get more and more popular with business users, much like community choice in California. It provides a practical way for large consumers to green their power supply because it simply changes the mix of energy supplied at the wholesale level. No infrastructure changes are needed. See, for example, the schematic provided below from San Francisco’s new choice provider.

In California, choice providers partner with the local utility to handle retail distribution and customer billing. Likewise, RPD partners with retail electric companies, such as XOOM Energy, to complete its new supply chain. However, customers can also keep their existing retail service provider if they wish.

Renewable choice is growing

Over the last few years, California’s community choice companies have added tens of thousands of customers. They have also contracted for over 200 MW of solar, wind and geothermal facilities. The success of community choice has prompted more and more cities, including San Jose and San Diego, to start creating community choice providers for their residents as well.

That’s good news for California consumers and good news for RPD because it underscores the benefits of the independent wholesale supply chain underlying both clean power initiatives.

California’s choice providers aggregate the energy demand of their local customers in order to bargain for lower wholesale rates and greener power. RPD can do the same by aggregating a corporation’s demand across various load centers. It can also pool the demand of several businesses served by the same electric grid.

Getting renewable energy where you work

So think of RPD as a community choice program for the business community. But, your business need not be in California to take advantage of the program. We’re bringing the future to the rest of America. RPD’s electric choice program is available today throughout the mid-Atlantic, New England and Texas.

Please contact us if you would like to learn how RPD can meet your needs. More information about California’s choice program can be found here.

CleanPowerSF_how it works

Source: Clean Power San Francisco. Customers can also choose a “SuperGreen” 100 percent renewable service for a small premium.

Read full press release on Businesswire

Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), the storage and information management company, began to power a segment of its New Jersey and Pennsylvania operations with local wind energy in March under a new supply agreement arranged by Renewable Power Direct (RPD), the national green power marketer. Under the agreement, Leeward Renewable Energy, through its Jersey-Atlantic Wind (JAW) generating facility, will be the source of physical power to cover a portion of Iron Mountain’s electric load and advance corporate sustainability goals.

“The power purchase that RPD sourced will assist Iron Mountain in meeting its goals under the EPA’s Green Power Partnership,” said Kevin Hagen, Director of Corporate Responsibility for Iron Mountain. “We’re pleased to help pioneer this new product offer from RPD. They are giving us a practical way to buy the green electricity for our immediate needs in the right quantity, at the right time, in the right place and at the right price to help us meet our financial and environmental goals. This is a key objective for us as we address our immediate priorities for sustainability while continuing to invest in longer-term strategies for the future.”

“Iron Mountain is helping corporate America implement new models for switching to renewable energy,” said Gregory C. Staple, Chairman of RPD. “RPD pioneered medium-term energy purchasing options, so that any business can benefit from directly buying green power. As Iron Mountain has shown, RPD’s contracts can also be a great complement to a company’s longer term power purchase agreements,” said Staple. “We expect RPD’s approach will grow the demand for renewable power across the business spectrum.”

As we have highlighted in previous posts, corporate renewable power transactions have become a large force in driving investment in new wind and solar farms. This momentum is only continuing to build, with transactions from companies like 3M, Lockheed Martin, Salesforce and Steelcase already among those announced in 2016.

While the importance of these deals has become better recognized within the industry, they are now finally starting to generate the national attention they deserve. In the past week, articles have appeared in both the Wall Street Journal (Companies Go Green on Their Own Steam) and National Geographic (These Old-School Companies Are Going Big With Solar and Wind).

New initiatives like the Go 100% RE campaign show that the push for cleaner power will not be slowing anytime soon. RPD is proud to be able to provide businesses of all sizes with access to the benefits of direct green power purchases.

It is always hard to balance corporate sustainability and fiscal goals. But, when it comes to buying electricity, it has recently become much easier. The window of opportunity might not last long, however.

Pricing for renewable power is currently at or near historic lows. Below is a chart showing prices in some major power grids.

ERCOT 24/7 3 Year Supply 5 Year Supply 7 Year Supply
2013 Price 38.08 35.69 35.77
2014 Price 35.21 34.60 35.20
2015 Price 31.94 33.76 35.37
Current 32.50 34.22 35.81
PJM West 24/7 3 Year Supply 5 Year Supply 7 Year Supply
2013 Price 44.17 42.63 41.38
2014 Price 43.75 42.00 40.86
2015 Price 41.55 40.32 39.68
Current 39.48 38.88 38.76
PJM East 24/7 3 Year Supply 5 Year Supply 7 Year Supply
2013 Price 47.15 45.86 44.89
2014 Price 47.22 45.54 44.69
2015 Price 45.36 44.23 44.02
Current 43.17 42.89 43.49

RPD has pioneered medium term (3-10 year) purchase options for renewable power, and we have several methods of tailoring renewable supply to a company’s load:

  • Deliver a fixed volume block of renewable power at a wholesale location to your current retail provider (who manages the balance of supply, load following, billing, etc.)
  • Deliver the block to a utility location to your current retailer
  • Provide 100% of your demand with renewable power and utilize our retail partner Xoom Energy to provide the balancing, etc.

For companies currently under a supply contract, RPD can also lock in low cost renewable supplies now and start delivery when your current term supply deal ends.

Current low pricing levels offer a fantastic opportunity for securing green power. Please get in touch if you would like a specific price quote for your volumes and locations.

This year has seen more than 30 corporate renewable power transactions. In total, the deals reflect well over 3 GW of wind and solar capacity. Here is a comprehensive chart.

Corporate and Institutional PPAs for Renewable Power

To provide some perspective, about 11 GW of new utility scale wind and solar capacity is expected to come online in the U.S. in 2015.[1]

Among the other most notable developments of the year, 49 of America’s largest companies have now signed onto the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, the RE100 initiative has 53 signees, and 154 companies have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. There is a palpable sense of momentum in the industry, and the importance of these corporate commitments on achieving the strong COP21 outcome that emerged from Paris earlier this month cannot be overstated.

Yet, the Paris climate agreement is in many ways only the first step. Business action will remain critical to helping nations achieve their ambitious carbon reduction targets.

This is why RPD believes that corporate renewable power transactions should not be a trend limited to America’s largest corporations. Businesses of all sizes should be able to access the benefits of direct green power purchases, and that is why RPD pioneered medium term (3-10 year) purchase options for renewable power that are tailored to a company’s load. The agreement we concluded with Intuit, announced this September, provides one example of this approach.

As 2016 commences, please get in touch if you would like to learn more about how RPD’s options for buying green power can work for your company.

[1] Source: EIA, http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/xls/table_6_03.xlsx and http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/xls/table_6_05.xlsx