ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utilities Respond To Rising Corporate Demand For Renewables
How utilities are meeting rising corporate demand for renewables; US companies are bypassing utilities to buy renewables, but three new IOU programs hold promise for power company involvement
Herman K. Trabish, December 14, 2015 (Utility Dive)
Google recently unveiled investments in more than 800 MW of wind and solar, nearly doubling its investment in renewables. That announcement from the internet giant was just the latest in a larger trend for American companies. Increasingly, corporate giants from Apple to Walmart are buying renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs) in deregulated markets because utilities aren’t offering what they want. But three investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are pioneering new deal structures that could open the opportunity. Walmart remains the biggest U.S. solar corporate buyer, with 142 MW of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 348 arrays, according to the paper. Ikea and Costco are among a handful of companies following suit.
Corporates are also buying wind energy. Early contracts suggest that NV Energy’s Green Energy Rider and Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider could be successful in attracting large customers to utility renewables programs, but they fall short in some of the Buyers Princples criteria that would fully meet corporate buyers’ needs. Both programs allow large customers to offset some or all of their utility-delivered electricity with power from renewable generation facilities. But, because they are administered by the utility, the power companies can avoid at least some of the lost revenue from companies taking outside deals. But Renewable*Connect, a new proposal from Xcel Energy Minnesota, could potentially be the first one to incorporate all six Principles… click here for more