ORIGINAL REPORTING: New Microsoft contract could expand corporate renewable energy deals to smaller buyers
New Microsoft contract could expand corporate renewable energy deals to smaller buyers; The "volume firming agreement" could mitigate some of the risk and volatility of renewable energy power purchase agreements, helping to expand procurement beyond large corporate buyers.
Herman K. Trabish, Nov. 20, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Microsoft’s pioneering work has led to new dimensions of growth for New Energy.
Microsoft recently developed a pioneering deal-making strategy that makes contracts more user-friendly and Microsoft more active in the renewable energy market. Other corporate renewables buyers may soon follow. Corporations like Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook use power purchase agreements to buy wind and solar generation, which provide fixed prices for renewables. But renewables' output varies with weather conditions, and PPA holders must, at times, purchase renewable MWs through power markets at prices higher or lower than the prices in their PPAs. Microsoft's volume firming agreement (VFA) transforms that fluctuating price into an unvarying, though slightly higher, price guaranteed by a third party insurer which relieves the buyer of the risk associated with renewables' variable price and output.
The third party takes advantage of the detailed understanding of energy markets and weather variations provided by a company like Microsoft partner REsurety, a risk management and information services company specializing in renewable energy variability. With such an analysis, the third party can guarantee delivery of renewables-generated electricity for every hour of every day. In return, it charges a risk-management price, an insurance premium price and the PPA price, but that total price is often below market prices for more expensive fossil fuel-generated power. REsurety CEO/Co-founder and VFA originator Lee Taylor has been working with Microsoft Energy Strategies Director of Innovation Ken Davies since 2010 to develop the VFA… click here for more