ORIGINAL REPORTING: Corporate New Energy deal-making getting bigger through innovation
The innovations just keep coming in the corporate-utility deal space; The newest plans are “much bigger and broader than green tariffs.”
Herman K. Trabish, April 26, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Corporate procurement or renewables has reached record levels in 2018.
Corporate demand is now a key driver of large-scale wind and solar growth, but utilities and their biggest customers have only begun to find innovative ways to meet that demand. At first, big corporate buyers went out to buy their own wind and solar projects. That led to partnerships with utilities, which are still being refined. Corporations accounted for more than 2,000 MW of the 5,496 MW of wind capacity contracted for in 2017 and grew to 9.6% of the total installed U.S. capacity. Corporate procurement of solar grew from 10% of 2016’s installed capacity to 16% in 2017. When innovative corporations with clean energy ambitions like Google, Apple and Amazon discovered they could not contract directly with IPPs in regulated, vertically integrated markets where they often want or need to do business, they developed the the green tariff concept.
Through green tariffs, regulated utilities can sell to corporate customers that bring new load to the system through utility commission-approved contracts. The formal agreements protect the rest of the utilities' customers from contractual complexities and premium pricing. When a growing list of corporate off-takers concluded the green tariff contracts did not always meet their needs for things like competitively-priced renewable generation and long-term contracts, they drafted a set of principles. More recently, customers have begun asking utilities for new renewable generation to meet existing as well as new load. The newest innovation may be the biggest. So far, it is simply an ongoing conversation between multi-jurisdictional, vertically-integrated utilities and core members called the Clean Power Council (CPC) aimed at going beyond renewable energy to enable technologies that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while growing businesses…click here for more