Author: Bre Shepherd

Saint Louis University Achieves Renewable Energy Milestone

SLU is Missouri’s first institution of higher education to commit to match all electricity used in student residence halls with renewable energy through the Ameren Missouri Pure Power® Program.

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University (SLU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities in the nation. 2018 marks its bicentennial and to continue the 200-year commitment to serve a higher purpose while always seeking the greater good, a student-led sustainability initiative was started four years ago to lead the effort to reach this milestone.

To match electricity used in residence halls, SLU purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Midwest wind farms through the Ameren Missouri Pure Power Program. By purchasing these RECs, SLU is able to prove that renewable energy was generated and added to the grid, and in turn, bolsters the renewable energy industry as a whole.

The initiative was headed by Douglas Fritz, now a senior who founded the student group, Green Billikens, and who also co-chairs the Sustainability Committee for the Student Government Association. “We made it happen during our bicentennial year, creating a campaign around sustainability that focuses on making our campus greener for the next 100 years,” Fritz said. “Pure Power is one of the many ways Ameren Missouri is providing affordable choices for customers who support and want to grow renewable energy in the Midwest,” said Tom Thompson, supervisor of energy services at Ameren Missouri.

3Degrees Business Development Manager, Debra Pottinger, worked closely with SLU to bring this project to fruition. Pottinger notes “During the first year, SLU will create the demand for 8,004 megawatt hours of electricity to be generated by Midwest Wind Farms and added to the Midwest power pool.”

By The Numbers

Greenhouse Gas Equivalents:

+ 1,427 vehicles off the road for a year or
+ 173,173 trees planted or
+ 239,496 incandescent bulbs switched to LED

Photo Credit: photo provided by Saint Louis University – Sustainability initiative leaders include (L to R) Laura Beilsmith, Green Billikens president, Douglas Fritz, Green Billikens founder & co-chair of the SGA Sustainability Committee, Laju Sudhakar, president of the Residence Hall Association and Antonio Hornstein, chair of the Green Billikens Renewable Energy Working Group.

Pacific Power’s Blue Sky and 3Degrees

Over 125,000 customers participate in innovative renewable energy program

In 2000, Pacific Power, a regulated utility serving customers across a six state region, launched its Blue SkySM renewable energy program. The program was well-received and steadily gained customers in its early years.

By 2004, Pacific Power was offering three different products within the program and went in search of a third party marketing partner. The utility had a strong desire to reach more of their service area, particularly regions in Oregon beyond their most urban service areas, while continuing to steadily grow the program year over year and was looking for a partner to help them achieve these goals.

3Degrees was awarded the business and is now in its 6th consecutive contract with Pacific Power. The 3Degrees/Pacific Power partnership is a great example of what true collaboration and innovative thinking can do for a voluntary renewable energy program and the results tell a pretty powerful story. 

3Degrees and Pacific Power 

3Degrees has provided program management support, marketing, outreach across the six state service area and REC supply services for the largest product offering in Oregon. The program has grown to exceed 125,000 residential and business participants through a suite of award-winning marketing and customer outreach tactics and is consistently ranked as one of the top renewable energy programs in the country by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Klamath Falls Solar Farm

To address the unique challenges of selling a premium-priced renewable energy product to both rural and urban areas, across multiple states, serving a wide variety of customers with diverse motivations, 3Degrees and Pacific Power have developed a multi-pronged approach that focuses on:

1. Results-driven marketing plans:

Pacific Power and 3Degrees establish annual goals each year and then build a marketing plan that delivers on those objectives. Goals often include amplifying a core utility message, geo-targeting customers in a specific community and delivering on awareness or enrollment targets.

Portland thank you magazine ad

Thanks to 3Degrees’ subscription modeling, the program has always met or exceeded its targets for annual enrollments. As a result, it is entirely self-funded, which ensures the program can continue growing and delivering value for years to come.

2. Compelling products:

In 2016, 3Degrees took its innovative REC supply approach one step further by looking for new projects that needed long-term, premium REC purchase commitments to make the project viable. The team looked to identify renewable energy projects that had not yet been financed, worked with developers to determine the REC price needed to secure financing or get the project built and then signed long-term REC contracts to guarantee the income stream for multiple year periods.

This strategy drove the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon, with the Huntington Wind project and Blue Basin Power, a solar project in southern Oregon. The ability to point to local projects that were developed directly from Blue Sky program participants’ support provides a unique and powerful messaging opportunity to both current and prospective program participants in the region.

Huntington Wind Farm

 

3. Customization:

The team recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to compelling messaging for customers across all of Pacific Power’s regions. Thus, customization of marketing materials and message points is extremely important. To reach the 40 percent of Oregon customers living in Southern Oregon (an area that was previously under-enrolled), 3Degrees and Pacific Power worked to include RECs from a local landfill, established partnerships with local cities, and worked with Pacific Power to create campaigns leveraging local imagery and messaging. The results were an impressive 50 percent increase in participation over three years.

Targeted direct mail campaign

 

“We have worked hand-in-hand with the 3Degrees team for more than a decade; in that time they have helped us make our Blue Sky renewable energy program one of the top renewable energy programs in the country. 3Degrees’ expertise in program design and implementation has allowed us to continually evolve the Blue Sky program to keep it relevant to customers, the renewable energy market, and to the utility. We are proud to offer this program to our customers.”

–Berit Kling, Program Manager, Pacific Power Blue Sky

Bearkat 1: Texas Wind Farm

Bearkat 1: Texas Wind Farm 

 

Just east of Midland, TX, a new wind project called Bearkat 1 has recently completed construction. The massive new wind turbines provide a stark contrast to the oil wells that make up much of the West Texas skyline.

Bearkat is one of the first U.S. wind development projects owned by the Danish organization Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and 3Degrees committed to a long-term REC off-take from this new project.

The full development will be comprised of 104 Vestas V126-3.45 MW wind turbines, spanning nearly 30,000 acres and will generate close to 360 MW of clean energy. The scale of this project is so large that it was developed in two separate phases.

+    Bearkat 1: 57 turbines that will generate 197.6 MW of wind energy

+    Bearkat 2:  Began development immediately after the first phase was up and running and has a lifetime capacity of 162.1 MW. This project consists of 47 turbines, resulting in a total of 104 wind turbines between the two projects.

Tri Global Energy (TGE), the developer of the Bearkat project, has a unique business model that engages landowners at a very intimate level and offers them unique benefits.  Instead of paying upfront costs for developing a new wind project on landowners’ property, TGE provides a guarantee for electricity royalties for the next 50 years, providing the landowners with equity in the wind farm developed on their property. Because of the sheer size of Bearkat, 55 different landowners will be able to take advantage of this incentive for decades to come.

 

3Degrees + RECS

 

www.green-e.org

3Degrees’ Multiple Mix Product is Green-e Energy certified and meets the environmental and consumer protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at: www.green-e.org.

 

 

 

PPA vs VPPA: similarities and differences

Power purchase agreements (PPAs) and virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) have been around for a while. But it can be hard to remember the differences between the two. This infographic provides an overview of the major differences. Need more depth? Check out our article, “Renewable energy power purchase agreements.” 

Want more information? Take a look at our energy and climate consulting services, our content related to renewable energy procurement or contact us.

 

Climate change year in review 2017

Infographic hero poster image

2017 was a year of climate advances and set backs. Check out our infographic for some of our favorite (and least favorite) headlines.


5-stories-from-2017-environmental


Read what other businesses are doing to address climate change.