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Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) is switching its Dallas-area campus to wind power as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

The Intuit site in Plano, a Dallas suburb, houses about 500 employees in the company’s Accountant and Advisor Group, which offers products and services to professional accountants. The location is one of Intuit’s largest electricity users, and is the first to be powered through an offsite renewable energy agreement. Following the switchover on Oct. 1, the facility will be 100 percent powered by wind energy, reducing its carbon footprint to zero.

The electricity and associated Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are being sourced by Renewable Power Direct, LLC, a wholesale green energy marketer, under a multi-year agreement with an existing Texas wind farm. RPD’s retail electricity partner, XOOM Energy, LLC, will provide the retail service delivery to Intuit’s campus.

“Electricity usage accounts for almost 40 percent of Intuit’s overall carbon footprint,” said Sean Kinghorn, Intuit’s senior sustainability program manager. “We have set a goal of reducing our absolute carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020 with a baseline year of 2012. RPD’s ability to creatively supply our Texas campus with 100 percent clean power will significantly reduce our company’s carbon footprint and is one of several steps that we are taking to increase our use of on-site and off-site renewable energy.”

A growing number of companies are realizing that they can convert to wind power without investing in expensive facilities. “Our business with Intuit shows that companies can now get the renewable power they want without having to buy a whole wind farm or solar park,” said Phil Minick, RPD’s director of marketing. “RPD expects to see similar types of green power purchases by other major brands soon.”

The record level of voluntary renewable power buys by corporate America could significantly help many states, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois and North Carolina, that have considerable coal-fired generation, meet the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction standards mandated under the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The EPA’s Plan adopts state-by-state guidelines for reducing CO2 emissions from existing power plants — reductions must be roughly 32% below 2005 emissions by 2030, on average — but leaves it up to each state to decide how best to meet these standards. States may adopt a mix of strategies, including greater use of lower carbon generators (such as natural gas-fired power), more efficient plants, and expanded use of renewable generation, such as wind and solar power, which are also eligible for special federal incentives.

Although the EPA’s new mandates apply directly to the public sector — that is, to individual states and certain generators subject to EPA regulation — the rules are designed to impact the mix of power used by private consumers (business and households) and, thereby, the total volume of GHG emissions associated with U.S. electricity generation.

Thus, the more emission reductions that the private sector can achieve in any given state through voluntary action — by installing on-site solar or by changing to electricity suppliers that only deliver renewable power — the easier it may be for that state to meet its obligations under the CPP. In other words, while the Clean Power Plan does not say much about this, demand-side consumer initiatives, as well as supply-side actions, can make a significant contribution to reducing overall power sector carbon emissions. And corporate PPAs have begun to show the way.

That was evident earlier this Summer when a flurry of announcements from companies like HP and Amazon, pushed long term corporate purchase commitments for renewable power over the 1,500 MW mark, already exceeding last year’s record level of business deals for green power.

Corporate and Industrial Green PPAs

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As we wrote in an April post, falling prices for renewable power and rising corporate sustainability goals are leading more Fortune 500 businesses to directly buy green electricity.

While terms for these PPAs vary, the seller typically develops, owns, and operates the renewable facility, and the buyer agrees to purchase the plant’s output at a negotiated price for an agreed term (typically 15 to 20 years). The size and type of long term commitment required for these deals have put off many prospective renewable power buyers, however.

At RPD, we believe that all business customers should be able to access the benefits of direct green power purchases. That is one reason why RPD developed medium term (3-10 year) PPAs for green power. RPD can offer shorter terms and smaller volumes by sourcing power from a mix of existing and new facilities that are not fully subscribed. RPD’s arrangements still help to finance additional renewable projects but they don’t require the customer (i.e., the end user of the power) to foot the whole bill for each project. The costs are spread over several off-takers.

Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how RPD can help your company switch to green power.

Renewable Power Direct (RPD) announced an alliance today with XOOM Energy to provide commercial and industrial customers with delivery options for renewable electricity in the Texas, New York, New England and Mid Atlantic markets that are open for retail access.

Read the full press release here.

During the last year, we’ve met with many prospective customers and attended several conferences and workshops for buyers and sellers of renewable energy. One thing we’ve heard time and again is this: The great majority of potential customers, including even fairly large companies, cannot afford and generally do not need the output of a whole off-site wind or solar farm.

So what are the options for these buyers?  RPD’s new discussion paper looks at several ways to address the “less than total wind farm” dilemma. It also profiles RPD’s own approach which is based on dividing the capacity of recently built (but under-utilized) wind and solar facilities into multiple blocks of power based on the buyer’s load and desired contract term. RPD then works with customers to negotiate follow-on agreements for additional renewable power projects.

This two-step approach has multiple benefits for buyers, not the least of which is that a buyer can quickly switch from grid power to green power and reap the associated economic and environmental benefits. This can be done without waiting for a new facility to come online or having to contract for the full output of a project.

Please get in touch if you think RPD’s approach to buying green power may work for your company. We would also welcome your comments and suggestions on the new discussion paper.

Falling prices for renewable power and rising corporate sustainability goals have led more Fortune 500 businesses to directly buy green electricity. The trend started a few years ago, and 2015 may see the largest number of deals yet.


ppa

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With nearly 750 MW of new power purchase agreements (PPAs) announced through the first quarter, 2015 is on track to surpass last year’s banner demand for 1300 MWs of new generation.

While terms for these PPAs vary, the seller typically develops, owns, and operates the renewable facility, and the buyer agrees to purchase the plant’s output at a negotiated price for an agreed term (typically 15-to 20 years). This type of long term commitment has put off many prospective renewable power buyers, however, because they lack the resources or risk tolerance.

That is one reason why RPD has developed medium term (3-10 year) PPAs for green power. RPD can offer shorter terms by sourcing power from a mix of existing and new facilities that are not fully subscribed. RPD’s arrangements still help to finance additional renewable projects but they don’t require the customer (ie. the end user of the power) to foot the whole bill for each project. The costs are spread over several off-takers.

Please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how RPD can help your company switch to green power.

Renewable power deals by Apple, Google and Kaiser Permanente show innovative approach – and RPD can make it fit your firm, small or large.

Three large, long-term corporate purchases of renewable power by Apple, Google and Kaiser Permanente made national headlines this February.

These transactions, which total over 300 MW of new solar and wind facilities in California, underscore the growing commitment of American business to climate action. The electricity deals also reflect an innovative approach to buying renewable energy that most media reports overlooked. In each case, it appears the green power will not be physically delivered to the buyers’ retail locations. Instead, the electricity will simply be added to the regional grid using a contract structure that locks in a low purchase price or green energy hedge for the buyer.

This approach is typically based on a so-called “contract for the differences” or CFD, a model that is more fully explained below.

While Google and Apple signed on for very large 20 year deals, customers don’t need to go big to make a CFD approach work.  The same structure can be used for much smaller and shorter term arrangements. By scaling the financial and volumetric commitment to a customer’s needs (for example 5 to 20 MW and 10 years or less) CFDs can open the  door for hundreds of companies to buy green electricity and hedge their energy costs. That’s where RPD can help. 

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On February 2, 2015, the Rocky Mountain Institute announced the launch of the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a new national forum to spur corporate purchases of large-scale renewable energy. Renewable Power Direct is proud to be one of the BRC’s founding members, and to join with over 20  major corporate buyers, project developers and service providers in this innovative venture.

Read the full press release here.

Raising the cap on Direct Access from its current 13 percent of the market to at least 20 percent, with renewable power comprising all the added supply, could lead to more than 6,000 megawatts in new geothermal, wind and solar output across the state. It would also drive innovation, investment and job creation in California.

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One of America’s largest independent energy traders, Tenaska Power Services (TPS) , an affiliate of Omaha-based Tenaska, has signed a series of agreements that will help to bring RPD’s renewable power contracts to a wider market.

The agreements put the TPS supply, energy scheduling and credit support behind RPD’s business.

Read the full press release here.

Learn more about Tenaska here.

The economics of renewable energy and the limitations of unbundled REC purchases are driving IT companies and other corporations with big sustainability goals to find better ways to buy green power. Yet, as detailed in a recent article from Greentech Media, these companies face hurdles in buying the renewable electricity products they want.

Read the Greentech Media article here: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/buying-renewable-power-for-data-centers-poses-logistical-challenges