ORIGINAL REPORTING: How Forward-Thinking Utilities Are Addressing Corporate Demand For Renewables
How forward-thinking utilities are addressing corporate demand for renewables; New green tariffs from Puget Sound, PNM, Rocky Mountain Power and Dominion could be game-changers
Herman K. Trabish, Dec. 13, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, the Puget Sound Energy tariff has been started up and Duke Energy is about to upgrade its tariff.
In 2016, utilities across the country doubled the number of renewable tariff programs to meet skyrocketing demand from large corporate customers. The newest breakthrough tariff structures, being invented by utilities as they go, differ in many ways. But all allow utilities to sell green electricity to key customers without imposing costs on other ratepayers. The opportunity to add load by serving the demand of large commercial customers is real — as is the risk of losing that revenue if companies forgo utility service. In the Fortune 500, 215 companies have renewable energy, emissions, or efficiency goals, according to a recent report from Ceres and partners, and 60 of the Fortune 100 have them.
In 2015, large corporate customers contracted for a record 3.2 GW of renewable energy — over 21% of the 16.4 GW of renewables added to the U.S. grid last year, according to a report from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), World Resources Institute (WRI), and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). In 2016, more than 450 MW of new solar were contracted through the five less-than-perfect tariffs, and over 500 megawatts of deals are currently under negotiation. Where utilities in regulated markets do not offer renewables tariffs, corporate buyers take their demand directly to power producers. About 90% of current corporate renewables-generated electricity purchases are now through contracts between corporate off-takers and independent power producers in unregulated markets. Many utilities would like to meet their corporate clients’ demand for renewables, but without a green tariff they cannot… click here for more