Month: April 2017

3Degrees honored for carbon offset project development

13 projects in 10 states developed and registered in 2016  

3Degrees was recently named a 2017 project developer of the year by the Climate Action Reserve and recognized for its leadership in advancing climate solutions and strengthening carbon markets.

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(L to R): Craig Ebert, President of the Climate Action Reserve, Nick Facciola, Director of Carbon Markets at 3Degrees, Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve and former Secretary of Cal/EPA

Specifically, 3Degrees was honored for registering the most projects in 2016 with 13 unique projects. These consisted of 10 compliance livestock projects, one voluntary livestock project and two voluntary landfill projects. These projects were developed in 10 different states by Origin Climate, which recently joined forces with 3Degrees and has over 20 projects on the Reserve. Origin Climate is one of the oldest and most successful carbon credit companies in the US and has registered more than 5 million verified carbon credits.

“3Degrees is honored to receive this award from the Climate Action Reserve,” said Mark Mondik, vice president of carbon markets. “We are committed to leveraging markets as a force for good and pride ourselves on being the honest and trusted voice in helping clients develop and implement strategies to fight climate change.”

The Climate Action Reserve is a carbon offset registry with a mission to develop, promote and support innovative, credible, market-based climate change solutions that benefit economies, ecosystems and society.

The award was presented at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference.

Green power programs can stagnate. Here’s how one utility kept theirs relevant.

Subscribers to utility green power programs pay a premium on their electricity bill for renewable energy certificates (RECs) in order to support renewable energy projects and reduce their personal carbon footprint. Since the late nineties, utilities have launched REC based green power programs in response to customer demand or regulatory mandate. There are now over 850 of these programs, offered to over 25 million customers across the nation and they continue to be a popular way to make a positive environmental impact.

However, while the renewable energy market has changed dramatically in recent decades, many green power programs haven’t. With lower REC prices, the rapid growth of rooftop solar, and dramatic expansion of community solar programs, utilities are now considering how to evolve their existing programs in order to keep them relevant to customers and to the wider renewable energy market.

Pacific Power recently confronted this challenge with their Blue Sky program.  Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program Manager, Berit Kling, reports that “Blue Sky was first launched in 1999 and is still consistently ranked as one of the top REC-based programs in the country with over 110,000 residential and business customers currently participating in Blue Sky across the 6 states.” This level of customer support creates opportunities for impactful supply strategies. Oregon was a particular target for new procurement approaches as more than half of the Blue Sky customers live there.

“We know that our customers care about the environment and want to see more renewable energy in Oregon,” says Scott Bolton, VP of External Affairs and Customer Solutions at Pacific Power. “We worked closely with 3Degrees to develop a REC procurement strategy that has, in a single year, driven the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon.”

The strategy was straight-forward. Scott Eidson, VP of Environmental Markets at 3Degrees reports, “We knew Pacific Power valued making a difference in Oregon so we looked for new projects that needed long-term REC purchase commitments in order to make the project viable.” In this scenario, a contract for RECs is similar in structure to a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in that it offers a guaranteed payment per megawatt-hour produced over a certain period of time. Today, most green power programs do not purchase RECs at a price or term that can really drive the development of new projects. This example suggests that perhaps they should be.

At a high-level, the approach was to:

  • Identify projects that had not yet been financed.
  • Work with developers to determine the REC price needed to secure financing or get the project built.
  • Sign long-term REC contracts to guarantee this income stream for multiple year periods.

Bolton reports that, “The specific renewable energy projects that have been developed due to this innovative approach are the Huntington Wind project, a 50 MW project in Eastern Oregon, and Blue Basin Power, a 1 MW solar project near Klamath Falls in southern Oregon.” Blue Basin is being developed in two phases; the 1 MW installation currently in operation, and a second 2.5 MW phase planned for 2017. Bill Eddie, CEO of OneEnergy Renewables, the project developer, describes how finding reliable funding for the projects was key in getting both phases of the project off the ground. “The first phase of the project was critical to break the ice as this is one of the first projects that has been built in the area…by partnering with Blue Sky, we were able to get enough revenue into the project to support financing.”

Not only does this approach directly impact the regional renewable energy landscape, but it creates a more tangible connection between program participants and the facilities they support—something that is often lacking in the traditional green pricing model. “Huntington will be the largest wind project to come on-line in Oregon since 2012. It’s great to be able to point to a large, high profile project like this and say, ‘Blue Sky customers made this happen.’ They can and should feel good about making a real difference in renewable energy development in Oregon,” says Bolton.  Pacific Power recently released a video highlighting the difference customers are making.

Pacific Power has been publicly recognized for this procurement strategy through awards from the Northwest Environmental Business Council and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). Jennifer Martin, Executive Director of CRS, commented that “[Pacific Power’s] innovative Blue Sky program…helps drive new development of clean energy generation and can serve as a model for new projects throughout the country.”

While the Blue Sky program is the second largest renewable energy program in the country, this model is replicable for green power programs of any size. Pacific Power isn’t alone in wanting to offer innovative solutions for customers though they are the first to pursue this strategy at such scale and success. Utilities with existing green power programs would be wise to consider how to leverage these programs to deliver new value to participants, the renewable energy market, and ultimately to the utility in the form of increased customer satisfaction and engagement.

 

More on 3Degrees + Green Power Programs

 

3Degrees and Origin Climate Unite

Companies join together to offer comprehensive range of renewable energy and climate solutions for U.S. and global clients

Today, 3Degrees and Origin Climate announced that 3Degrees will acquire Origin Climate. Many U.S. and global organizations, from corporations to utilities, are navigating the complex world of carbon, renewable energy and sustainable development goals without the necessary resources. The combined company brings together industry-leading pioneers to offer a comprehensive range of renewable energy and climate expertise to transform clients’ organizational goals into impactful strategies and results.

Erin Craig and Mark Mondik, the managing directors of Origin Climate, will take on leadership roles within the newly expanded 3Degrees. Craig will lead the consulting organization that will serve clients’ climate and renewable energy needs. Mondik will lead the carbon market business, including carbon credit origination. Both Craig and Mondik will join the 3Degrees executive leadership team and board of directors. Dan Kalafatas will remain the executive chairman and Steve McDougal will continue to serve as the CEO.

 “We are pleased to join forces with Origin Climate. Our product and service offerings complement one another exceptionally well, enabling us to serve the tailored needs of more customers and serve them more comprehensively, both in the United States and around the world,” said Kalafatas.

Expanded Custom Offerings for Commercial and Industrial Clients

Over the past several years, many organizations have significantly broadened their climate and energy goals. These leaders need a wide range of products and an evolved set of services to ensure their success. In recent years, Origin Climate has quietly advised on more than 1400 MW of completed renewable power procurement transactions, and become a major force guiding corporate renewable energy strategy in the United States. By joining forces with Origin Climate, 3Degrees will enhance the depth of its offerings across consulting and transaction services—including PPAs, contracted purchases from competitive energy providers, green tariffs, and tax equity and other owner-investment options—as well as customizable renewable energy certificate (REC) and carbon offset products sourced from around the globe.

 “Origin Climate guided our organization as we committed to achieving 50% renewable energy and an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for our highly distributed content delivery network spanning 120 countries,” said Nicola Peill-Moelter, Ph.D., senior director of environmental sustainability for Akamai Technologies. “They helped us develop our procurement strategy and led us through our first virtual PPA (VPPA) process. We are excited to see how Origin Climate will bring success to more companies as part of the 3Degrees team.”

The expanded 3Degrees team provides energy users an unbiased assessment of a variety of climate-smart energy supply options. Their approach enables internal stakeholders to weigh in on the costs, risks and benefits of all possibilities, navigate the regulatory complexities, and help determine the best option. As a result, execution can proceed quickly and without surprises.

“We’re seeing a number of companies with impressive renewable energy goals rushing to sign VPPAs,” said Craig. “VPPAs are a great structure, but they’re not for everyone. The companies we work with are seeking renewable energy as a primary objective; participating at-risk in wholesale power markets is not on their ‘to-do’ list. By combining 3Degrees’ leadership in commercial, industrial and utility sectors with Origin’s experience advising companies on a wide variety of energy supply structures, we are now uniquely positioned to help clients identify and implement the solution that best meets their needs—whether a VPPA or otherwise.”

Serving the Utility of the Future

For more than a decade, 3Degrees has helped investor- and publicly owned utilities across the United States with custom compliance and voluntary REC products in order to meet renewable portfolio standards, as well as create successful voluntary renewable programs that engage their customers and drive satisfaction.

As utilities seek to retain customers and attract new economic development to their service territories, 3Degrees is now better equipped to help utilities navigate the renewable energy requirements of their largest energy users. 3Degrees’ leadership in managing community solar and voluntary green power programs is augmented by Origin Climate’s trail-blazing work designing and implementing one of the first utility “green tariffs” to allow electricity users to buy 100% project-specific renewable energy through their utility.

“For more than a decade, 3Degrees has helped us deliver compelling renewable energy choices that meet the commitments and interests of our customers. With the integration of Origin Climate, 3Degrees is even better positioned to serve a growing interest among our largest customers and position Silicon Valley Power as a utility of the future,” said Larry Owens, customer services manager of Silicon Valley Power, one of the top utility sellers of renewable energy.

Strong Alignment of Culture and Values

Both Origin Climate and 3Degrees are certified B Corporations. The combined company retains the 3Degrees name and now has more than 100 employees spanning offices in San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Seattle, and Richmond, Va. The Origin Climate team members will relocate to the 3Degrees headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

Added McDougal, “3Degrees and Origin Climate’s core values and company cultures are perfectly aligned, providing foundation to craft creative, impactful solutions for clients and make a greater impact on energy markets and climate change.”