Month: March 2021

Okta is Addressing its North American Electricity Emissions While Supporting California Schools

For Okta, an innovative San Francisco-based identity company, addressing its impact on the climate is a foundational component to one of its three Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) pillars. While the company understood the need to confront its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Okta was at the very beginning of its decarbonization journey and, like many other organizations starting out, wanted to make an impactful first step. In August of 2020, Okta completed its first GHG emissions assessment which allowed it to measure its emissions, establish baselines, and begin to define renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.

With this information, Okta approached 3Degrees to help develop a plan to procure renewable energy to address its energy consumption, while also having a positive effect on the community.

The Opportunity

Over the past 15 years, 3Degrees has supported The California Bright Schools Program with the procurement of more than 173,000 MWhs of solar RECs from school districts throughout California. Taking into account its desire for community impact, purchasing RECs from California schools proved to be a perfect fit for Okta. 

The Bright Schools Program was born out of a vision for school districts to proliferate solar energy adoption and save general fund dollars, while providing clean energy education for students and teachers. This program, implemented through the California Energy Commission, helps identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities and supports the installation of photovoltaic solar systems on schools across the state.

The Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD), just southeast of San Francisco, is a great example of how schools are benefiting from solar development. As a participant in the Bright Schools Program, the Milpitas Unified School District is estimated to save $12 million over the portfolio’s lifespan. The district has also created an additional revenue stream through the  sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the system, which 3Degrees has been purchasing since 2009.

How we helped

Working closely with Okta, 3Degrees assessed the company’s purchase criteria and developed a portfolio of renewable energy options that would meet its energy requirements and desire for additional co-benefits. Through the purchase of RECs generated from the Bright Schools Program’s solar network, Okta was able to demonstrate its commitment to the environment and the community. The purchase helped Okta meet its renewable energy goal for 2020, while also making a positive impact on California schools.

“Every organization should be taking action on climate change, as it adversely affects our people and planet. At Okta, we’re early in our journey, but we’re committed to doing our part and reducing our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. We’re implementing energy efficiency efforts to reduce consumption at our offices — and for energy we consume, we’re investing in renewable energy projects with positive environmental and social impacts. We value our partnership with 3Degrees and their expertise in this area.”

— Alison Colwell, Director of ESG and Sustainability, Okta



Okta’s initial purchase was large enough to address its entire Scope 2 emissions footprint in the United States. By supporting the Bright Schools Program, Okta was able to create a meaningful connection for its employee stakeholders and highlight the tangible benefits of its efforts. 


Okta’s purchase is an example of how organizations can go beyond “checking the box” with their renewable energy purchases and support projects with strong co-benefits, demonstrating that even a first step can also be meaningful to stakeholders and impactful to communities. Acknowledging that this is just the beginning of its journey, Okta is already looking ahead at options to address its international Scope 2 emissions, as well as ways to address its indirect Scope 3 emissions.

Carbon Project Development (video)

Carbon Project Development Video

3Degrees’ Carbon Markets Director, Stephanie Harris, discusses why organizations should consider investing in carbon project development as a way to address their emissions footprint and meet long-term GHG reduction goals.

Watch the video

ALDI enhances sustainability leadership with multi-year renewable energy purchase




Protecting the environment has been a priority for ALDI for many years. In 2014, the company began implementation of its first international climate strategy, which included the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% per square meter of sales area by 2020.

In 2021, ALDI South, which includes ALDI U.S., went a step further and announced it would join the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), committing to reduce its overall operational emissions by more than a quarter by 2025 as part of the company’s 2030 vision for sustainability. Additionally, ALDI has encouraged 75% of its suppliers to commit to science-based targets by 2024.

ALDI U.S. continues to implement initiatives in support of these goals, including integrating solar design for stores and warehouses where feasible, and procuring 100% renewable energy for all of its operations. ALDI achieves this through a portfolio approach using onsite solar generation, competitive retail supply contracts, and independently sourced unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs). ALDI enlisted 3Degrees to help evaluate its short- and long-term goals, inform the company’s procurement strategy, and execute its first purchase of renewable energy.


ALDI outlined several criteria to ensure its renewable energy purchasing strategy was a good fit with its business model. To this end, 3Degrees’ recommended approach needed to:

  • Support the company’s aggressive U.S. growth plan
  • Fit within its existing energy procurement strategy
  • Mitigate potential REC market volatility, while providing flexibility to handle the company’s projected growth and any future changes to how it procures renewable energy
  • Provide meaningful impact

Additionally, since this would be its first large-scale renewable energy purchase in the United States, the ALDI team was looking for support educating national and international stakeholders on renewable energy certificates (RECs), their role in a renewable energy purchasing strategy, and the challenges unique to purchasing renewable energy in the U.S.

How we helped

3Degrees took the company’s needs into careful consideration and created a tailored plan to deliver on the ALDI goals of meeting 100% renewable energy for all of its U.S. operations while mitigating risk and providing some long-term price certainty.

We began by engaging ALDI, educating key stakeholders, and completing a renewable energy options assessment which outlined the various paths that the company could take to achieve its goals. As a result, ALDI elected to move forward with a multi-year REC purchase that would serve as the anchor point for its most immediate renewable energy needs in the U.S. but still provide flexibility to explore options beyond unbundled RECs over time. Our work with the ALDI team also supported the business case for a longer-term renewable energy procurement strategy that balances impact and economics while allowing the company to drive rapid adoption of renewable energy within its operating footprint.

“ALDI has been investing in programs to protect the environment for many years now, and our commitment to our climate strategy is a significant corporate priority. We are thrilled to partner with 3Degrees on this unique, multi-year REC purchase, which will play an important role in helping us achieve our renewable energy goals.”

— Dan Gavin, Senior VP of National Real Estate, ALDI



Through its long-term REC procurement, ALDI:

  • Is addressing 100% of its U.S. electricity load with renewable energy at a favorable fixed price in the short term
  • Sets the stage for its renewable energy procurement strategy to play a pivotal role in achieving the company’s ambitious science-based target GHG goal
  • Demonstrates the role RECs can play in enabling a realistic, business-conscious approach to GHG reduction
  • Is able to make a meaningful impact in the national renewable portfolio through its investment

Utilities and Customers, Partners in the Clean Energy Future

 Integrated voluntary renewable products will help utilities go carbon-free faster, in partnership with customers.

The 2020s must be a decade of energy transformation like no other. This moment offers an opportunity for future-focused utilities — those pursuing aggressive decarbonization goals and deeper customer connections — to fully activate voluntary renewable energy products as an essential tool to advance and achieve their most pressing goals. To get there, leaders need to learn from the past and change the way they think about the voluntary market.

A crucial lesson from ten years of renewable energy expansion

Utilities have been responding to the growth and evolution of renewable energy for decades. From where I sit, some of the biggest threats to utilities have come from changes spurred by renewable energy, and some of the biggest utility advancements have come from responding to those changes.

In the last decade, we witnessed growth in the amount and variety of voluntary renewables available to end customers, alongside growing demand for renewable energy. We also saw non-utility players come forward to meet that demand, bringing a wide array of products from rooftop solar and VPPAs to community choice aggregation and API-enabled bill consolidators with add-on products. All told, utility customers across every segment have more renewable energy choices than ever before.

Amid this expansion of options, utilities have made significant progress in countering intermediation threats and responding to customer demand for renewable energy by developing their own innovative voluntary products. Leading utilities have developed robust green power and community solar programs, a wide array of green tariff approaches, and more.

These programs offer vast potential: to improve customer satisfaction, contribute to the clean energy transition, build internal innovation capabilities, and create a more equitable future for all. But the typical utility approach to voluntary products has limited that potential. These products are often designed on a one-off basis reactive to distinct customer demands, and without much consideration for how they can advance longer-term strategies. Voluntary renewable energy products can have a far greater impact when they are developed with a comprehensive approach.

Advancing utility clean energy with strategic voluntary products

After a decade of renewable energy advancement, it’s time for utilities to activate voluntary products as a strategic part of their decarbonization strategy.

This work has already begun. We work with utilities who use their voluntary programs to lower the cost of reaching 100% decarbonization targets for their region. They build new assets backed by demand from voluntary customers. They partner with residential, corporate, and municipal customers who want their own sustainability goals to enable equitable transformation for their region. These utilities have a head start, and others should follow their leadership.

With voluntary products integrated into their broader decarbonization strategies, utilities will also be better prepared to deploy new products that support emerging system needs related to distributed energy resources and electrifying transportation. While the path to more comprehensive and integrated voluntary programs requires new thinking, history shows us that it’s worth it, and now is the time to start.

The Art & Science of PPAs: Factors to Consider Beyond the Numbers (webinar)


Before your organization can go to market with a PPA, there are some important criteria that must be considered. Most companies are familiar with the financial aspect of evaluating PPAs, but this decision should not solely be about the numbers. Qualitative factors must also be considered in the process in order to properly evaluate co-benefits, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and nature-based, as well as project development risk factors.

On March 2, 2021 Tyler Espinoza, Director, Energy and Climate Practice at 3Degrees and Misti Groves, VP, Business Development at LevelTen Energy discussed both the “art” and the “science” of global PPAs and how you can ensure you’re evaluating the full range of important considerations to make the best decision for your organization.

View the webinar

The Art & Science of PPAs