Author: 3Degrees Staff

At 3Degrees, we make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change— providing renewable energy and carbon offset solutions to Fortune 500 companies, utilities, universities, green building firms and other organizations that are working to make their operations more sustainable. And as a certified B Corporation and eight-time winner of the EPA Green Power Supplier of the Year award, we’re primed to deliver custom clean power solutions that will help each organization make an environmental impact. Founded in 2007, 3Degrees is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with offices across the United States.

Proterra Drives the Transition toward Clean Transportation with Market-Based Incentives

electric_bus

proterra benefitsFounded in Golden, Colorado in 2004, Proterra is a leader in the design and manufacture of zero-emission electric transit vehicles, charging infrastructure, and other electric vehicle technology solutions for heavy-duty applications. To date, Proterra has sold nearly 1,000 electric buses to over 43 states and provinces across the United States and Canada. At the core of its business, Proterra seeks to help transform the transportation industry by shifting away from loud, fossil-fuel powered vehicles, and toward quiet, purpose-built, clean-energy powered electric vehicles. To help enable this transformation, the organization tapped into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program. Taking part in the program helps Proterra and its customers generate additional revenue to invest in EV and EV infrastructure manufacturing, and contributes toward the goal of reducing California’s transportation fuels by 20% by 2030.

Opportunity

Under California’s legislation, organizations that produce or use fuels with a carbon-intensity (CI) lower than the state benchmark, such as biodiesel, RNG, ethanol, and EV charging, can generate LCFS credits. The lower the CI of the fuel, the more LCFS credits can be generated. These LCFS credits are sold into the marketplace to generate revenue. With few exceptions, the credits generated through the LCFS from EV charging are ear-marked for reinvestment into further EV adoption within California’s transportation sector. 

For Proterra’s customers, leveraging the LCFS market has a very clear upside. They are able to lower their operational costs and the total cost of ownership while pursuing long-term sustainability objectives to power their vehicles with electricity as opposed to fossil fuels. However, managing the eligibility and registration process, monthly reporting, program administration, and sale of the credits can be a time-consuming process. 

How we helped

In partnership with Proterra, 3Degrees developed a full-service program that allows Proterra’s customers to generate revenue through the LCFS and spur additional investment into electric buses and clean charging infrastructure. 3Degrees helps Proterra manage the end-to-end LCFS program administration, from establishing pathway eligibility to quarterly and annual reporting, to implementation of eligible green power, and credit monetization. 

The program is designed to build economies of scale by pooling together customers’ credits to achieve the highest possible market price. Proterra passes on the credit value to its customers, which lowers their total cost of ownership, driving further investment in EVs and EV infrastructure. 

While using grid energy to charge EVs enables LCFS credit generation, using renewable energy, either in the form of on-site renewable power generation or through the use of a renewable energy product backed by Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), increases credit generation by lowering the CI of the power used for charging to zero. Proterra’s partnership with 3Degrees also matches its customers’ charging activity with zero-CI renewable energy certificates, allowing them to match 100% of charging with renewable energy while increasing total LCFS credit generation.

Results

It is very early in Proterra’s program, however, the benefit of this program to Proterra and its customers is clear and the company’s solution is scalable. Revenue generated through the state’s incentive program lowers costs for Proterra’s customers and allows for further investment in transportation decarbonization. This program provides a solution that benefits all parties while also working to help California meet its carbon reduction target, a triple-win for Proterra, its customers, and the state of California.

 

Learn how your organization can leverage the LCFS program to accelerate its transition to clean transportation. Get in touch with us.

Pathways to Net Zero Emissions

Since the 2018 release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s special report on ways to limit global warming to 1.5°C, which stated the need to reach global “net zero” emissions by 2050, many organizations have either started or stepped up their carbon reduction commitments to take action to achieve this goal. But committing to reach net zero emissions and understanding how to undertake that effort are two very different things.

This Pathways to Net Zero Emissions white paper covers:

  • A comprehensive assessment of net zero and why it’s important
  • The variety of options available to address Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
  • The actions that companies can take to get started immediately, no matter its size or budget

Explore this white paper to learn more about net zero and how your organization can reduce emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible.

 

 

The Strategic Value of Voluntary Renewable Programs for Gas Utilities (webinar)

webinar-banner-gas-utilities

Gas utility leaders can get a broad understanding of voluntary renewable programs in this webinar, featuring 3Degrees’ Amanda Mortlock and Center for Resource Solutions’ Rachael Terada.

The panelists discussed various program approaches including renewable natural gas and carbon offsets, strategic value for utilities with a well-designed program – including case studies from three major gas utility programs, and the latest on development of Green-e® certification standards for RNG.

View the webinar

gas-utilities-webinar

How Verisk is Successfully Addressing Emissions from its International Energy Load

Sunset with transmission towers

verisk challengesVerisk is a leading data analytics provider with a focus on the insurance, energy, and financial services industries. Since several of the company’s business lines involve analysis of the effects of climate change, Verisk is highly attuned to the urgency of this challenge and has a strong commitment to environmentally responsible business practices. In 2017, Verisk approached 3Degrees to help it develop and execute a plan to address its global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through investments in energy attribute certificates and carbon offsets.

Challenges

Though the company is headquartered in New Jersey, Verisk’s energy load is heavily decentralized among offices in approximately 20 countries. The offices are leased not owned, often relatively small, and frequently situated in multi-tenant buildings, which makes it very difficult to address renewable energy needs directly. To add a layer of complexity, several of the company’s international locations are in markets with very limited, or newly developing, renewable energy instrument options. Finally, Verisk saw that a renewable energy purchasing commitment was consistent with the expectations of its stakeholders, and had the potential to positively influence employee job satisfaction, retention, and attraction. To strengthen this connection to employees, Verisk specifically requested that at least some of the projects be located in places where many of its 7,000+ employees would appreciate the connection.

3Degrees was undaunted by these criteria. With extensive experience navigating global energy markets and tailoring solutions to fit our clients’ specific needs, we were confident we could craft a high quality, cost-competitive renewable energy purchasing plan to achieve Verisk’s goals.

How we helped

We began by conducting an in-depth assessment of all available EACs in each market where Verisk’s various businesses have load. Because many of these markets offered limited or new, and therefore less familiar, options, 3Degrees performed detailed due diligence down to the project level.

After assessing the best options in each market that balanced cost with quality, we were able to propose and transact on a diversified portfolio approach of EACs and carbon offsets (when renewable energy was unavailable or did not make strategic sense in a market) that allowed Verisk to address its electricity emissions in each of the following countries:

Verisk world map

Results

By executing a portfolio of high quality EACs and carbon offsets, Verisk achieved its goal of supporting renewable energy in the areas around the world where it conducts business and where the vast majority of its employees live and work. Importantly, this investment also enabled the company to demonstrate its commitment to climate action to its stakeholders, including its employees. Verisk has now made this commitment for five years (2017-2021), and expects to continue exploring renewable energy options beyond that.

“We were happy to work with 3Degrees to create a portfolio of EACs and carbon offsets to address our electricity emissions around the world. Given our decentralized footprint, it was important to us that we work with an experienced advisor. The team was highly knowledgeable and we felt very comfortable with the recommendations they proposed.”

— Pat McLaughlin, Senior VP and Chief Sustainability Officer, Verisk

Utilities hold the key for driving EV adoption

electric car being charged

How Green Power Program participants can help accelerate the journey

Society has until 2030 to slash carbon emissions by 45% to avoid the worst effects of climate change, according to the recent UN IPCC report. Fortunately, the single largest source of emissions in the U.S., the transportation sector, may already have the answer: electric vehicles (EVs). 

Yet today, more than a decade after the first contemporary battery-only EV (BEV) was delivered, less than 0.5% of the world’s 1.2 billion vehicles are EVs. And while EV sales in the U.S. are forecasted to overtake sales of gas-burning vehicles around 2035, they will represent only 42% of total vehicles on the road in 2040. To hit IPCC goals, we must accelerate EV adoption.

What’s slowing us down? One significant challenge is “the awareness gap” in knowledge of EVs on the market: in one study by Strategic Vision, for example, 54% of consumers were not able to name even one EV model. In addition to lack of awareness, there are also consumer concerns around charging and “range anxiety”.

Utilities are recognizing the business value of EVs

While most utilities recognize that they are key players in the transition to EVs and are increasingly active in supporting them, the majority are still early in the journey. According to SEPA, 74% are just getting started with simple initiatives such as providing EV information that can help close the awareness gap and purchasing EVs for their fleets. Only 23% are directly encouraging the purchase and use of EVs through tactics like deploying charging infrastructure and rate incentives, which together speak to consumers’ concerns.

A vigorous EV program can be a huge win for utilities. By accelerating the pace of EV adoption, they stand to gain financially by growing demand for energy and related services, and by improving operational flexibility as EVs become a grid resource.

Another important benefit: EVs can help utilities improve customer satisfaction by saving their customers money through reduced rates, and helping them navigate the barriers to EV purchasing. 

So if utilities have ample motivation to help accelerate EV adoption, what’s their next step? At 3Degrees, we have worked closely with utilities nationwide for over a decade and had a hypothesis that they have a built-in audience for marketing EVs: participants in Green Power Programs (GPPs). These customers have already shown that they are willing to make investments to support sustainability. To test this theory, 3Degrees studied GPP participants from 10 U.S. utilities and compared them to EV owners – and proved our hypothesis.

Many similarities between EV owners and GPP participants 

Our research found that GPP participants and EV owners are very similar across a number of factors.   

  • Higher rates of income and net worth –  both groups tracked above national averages, though the net worth of EV owners averaged 133% higher than GPP participants.
  • Higher levels of education – both EV owners and GPP participants have higher than average college completion rates, though a notably larger percentage of EV owners (65%) are college grads versus GPP participants (49%). 
  • Higher levels of home ownership, home value, and home equity
  • Higher levels of environmental consciousness
  • Higher propensity to spend across lifestyle categories, like gardening, healthy living, books, and luxury retail items

Based on these findings, we then looked for evidence that our hypothesis is playing out in the market and worked with one of 3Degrees’ utility partners to examine its residential GPP participants and EV owners in that service area.

The correlation held up: EV owners were 79% more likely than non-EV owners to be enrolled in that utility’s green power program.

As part of our research, we also compared the demographics of hybrid owners and GPP participants, since hybrids (like EVs) are often purchased on the basis of their lower carbon emissions. Not surprisingly, hybrid owner characteristics lined up well with GPP participants and, in some cases, even better than EV owners. 

In addition to the demographic similarities, GPP participants are also strong targets for EV marketing for another important reason – the best target for any utility program is a customer who already participates in a utility program. They likely read what you send them, they’re engaged with their energy use, and they like trying new programs. 

Utilities and GPP participants can be climate heroes, together

By growing their green power programs and effectively marketing EVs to those participants, utilities can play a significant role in accelerating EV adoption. In the process, both utilities and their customers have the opportunity to become true climate heroes.