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.

Powdr’s Clean Energy Initiative Meets Good Clean Fun

Snowboarder treks up the snow

With a mission to share, inspire and celebrate lifestyle and mountain sports, Powdr owns and operates eight mountain resorts located across the country. Understanding that the future of these outdoor spaces depends on a serious effort to stop climate change, Powdr supports a variety of carbon cutting and energy saving initiatives at their resorts.

Resorts have sacrificed revenue from selling plastic water bottles on location, commissioned a series of research on climate change and how it will impact the recreation community and created the initiative, Protect Your Playground, to fund ideas that further advance Powdr’s sustainability goals.

In 2015, Powdr partnered with 3Degrees to purchase enough wind RECs to match 100% of the electricity used at their eight resorts. With a mission to connect people to cleaner energy on a massive scale, 3Degrees enlisted their in-house marketing and creative team to design a campaign to:

  • Build the Powdr Green brand
  • Inspire resort-based marketing teams to talk more about carbon neutrality
  • Increase employee confidence on the subject
  • Give Powdr more value out of their REC and carbon offset purchase


3Degrees designs campaign logo and boilerplate

Our designers and writers conceptualized the look, feel and tone. The campaign communicates carbon neutrality as a brand ideology people should be proud of.


Campaign cover images designed by 3Degrees

We developed social media assets, visuals and copy, to communicate the resort’s investment in renewable energy to their social networks.


Powdr e-blast designed by 3Degrees

A template for e-blasts was created to promote the resort’s green initiative during peak sales seasons.


Powdr "ask me" buttons designed by 3Degrees

“Ask me” buttons not only prompted resort guests to ask about the campaign, but encouraged employees to stay up to date with Powdr’s sustainability initiative.


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Wind Power RECs Meet Two Organizations’ Goals

rhinocerous at zoo

The places people gather can have a tremendous impact on the culture of the surrounding community. Visitors to special attractions, like zoos, are there to encounter something outside and above normal everyday experiences. This level of interest and excitement provides parks with a powerful opportunity to influence – a fact not lost on leadership at the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS).

The Detroit Zoo is Michigan’s largest paid family attraction and draws 1.4 million visitors annually. The Zoo has a goal to provide this broad audience with educational opportunities that lead to the appreciation and stewardship of nature. DZS Greenprint is one way they work toward that goal.

bird and lion

Greenprint is a comprehensive plan that aims at reducing impact as well as increasing green literacy at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo. It sets operational standards for  water and waste management as well as energy. At the Zoo visitors will see solar panels on buildings as well as staff driving solar powered carts. It is also home to the nation’s first zoo-based dry biodigester, which processes waste and turns it into power for the animal hospital. However, needing more power is a fact of life for a facility as large as the 125 acre park. That’s why DZS board member Dr. Terry S. Harvill proposed the idea of matching the balance of the electricity used with clean, renewable wind energy.

Dr. Harvill knew that supporting wind energy by purchasing Green‑e® Energy certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) from 3Degrees would be an effective way to lower the Zoo’s carbon footprint and help meet energy-based goals outlined in Greenprint. As a Vice President of International and Merchant Development for ITC Holdings Harvill pursued the idea as part of ITC’s Charitable Giving Program.

“We have a shared a commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Harvill. “ITC is proud to support the DZS’ sustainability goals by facilitating access to renewable energy.” ITC’s donation lowers the DZS’s carbon footprint by 9,102 metric tons each year. This has an environmental impact similar to:

  • growing 233,386 trees each year for 10 years
  • or taking cars 1,916 off the road for 1 year
  • or not using 21,168 barrels of oil

Wind energy is a clean, renewable resource that can be harnessed wherever the wind blows. Each megawatt of renewable energy generated equals one renewable energy certificate (REC). Selling RECs helps energy producers recoup the expense of investing in alternative technologies which encourages development of cleaner power projects.

About ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) is the nation’s largest independent electric transmission company. Based in Novi, Michigan, ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve reliability, expand access to markets, allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems and lower the overall cost of delivered energy. Through its regulated operating subsidiaries ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along approximately 15,600 circuit miles of transmission line. ITC’s grid development focus includes growth through regulated infrastructure investment as well as domestic and international expansion through merchant and other commercial development opportunities. For more information, please visit ITC’s website at

Industry Analysis: The Four P’s of Community Solar

community solar white paper

As more customers become interested in having solar, utilities are looking to meet that demand through new community solar offerings.

The content of this white paper is focused on assisting utilities that voluntarily choose to implement community solar programs. Launching a new utility offering is similar to launching a new product. As utilities develop these new offerings, it is useful to think about how all of the elements reinforce each other and can lead to success. The classic four P’s of marketing – Product, Place, Price and Promotion are a useful framework for thinking about how to design and launch this new offering to your customers.

As we walk through each of these in turn, they allow us to identify key issues that will need to be evaluated and decided on for a successful program.

“Community solar is a small, but fast growing market, experiencing growth over 25 times since 2010.” —U.S. Solar Market Insights Report, June 2015

How the Renewable Energy Market is Evolving

Aerial view of wind farm

Corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) are being talked about everywhere — from water coolers to boardrooms to industry conferences. Today, corporate and institutional (C&I) end users have unparalleled access to bilateral agreements directly with utility-scale renewable energy facilities — greening their energy portfolio and creating financial benefits. How did we get here?

While a number of interrelated factors have driven this change, we have identified two clear eras in the development of renewable energy.

The two eras of renewable energy market development

ERA 1: The Early Days of Deregulation, RECs, and RPSs (1990s–2000s)

The first era, starting in the 1990s, was characterized by deregulation, the creation of renewable energy certificates (RECs) and the development of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS). During this time period, renewable energy was purchased through compliance and voluntary programs, and renewable energy cost a premium to conventional power.

In the mid- to late 1990s, options were few for commercial and institutional customers that wanted renewable energy. An end user could install an on-site solar PV system, or if in a deregulated market, could select a retail provider that combined RECs with normal brown power. Over time, the number of deregulated markets and options increased substantially.

By the early 2000s, some utilities began offering green power options to customers. At the same time, unbundled RECs provided a new way to purchase green power without having to go through utilities or power retailers — even in a regulated power market. EPA Region 10 executed the first large retail REC deal (PDF) with Bonneville Environmental Foundation for 2.7 million kWh in 2000. A year later the EPA launched its recognition program, the EPA Green Power Partnership, to acknowledge voluntary buyers of renewable energy and encourage new ones. In 2002, Center for Resource SolutionsGreen-e Energy program, the third-party certification for RECs, certified 1.7 million MWh.

By the middle of the decade, momentum grew and a number of states legislated renewable portfolio standards, and compliance markets emerged as the dominant source of renewable energy demand in the United States. Statutory requirements varied by state, but many allowed both PPAs and unbundled RECs to satisfy compliance. At the same time, the groundwork was being laid for future changes with the development of third-party financing models.

The solar PPA (and solar leasing) was born in 2006 (PDF), a brainchild of SunEdison and MMA Renewable Ventures, with early pioneers quickly jumping on board. While the compliance markets grew, so too did the voluntary market. End users demonstrated clear demand for renewables — primarily through RECs — and by 2009 Green-e certified sales grew to 22 million MWh.

ERA 2: The Modern Time of PPAs and the C&I Segment (2000s–present)

Around the same time, the landscape began to shift as more companies became interested in PPAs. The growth of the solar PPA market played an important role spurring industry growth. The most popular method of solar installations transitioned from ownership to PPAs, and the upward trend continued as more states approved third-party financing. In 2008, Walmart and SC Johnson executed the first large-scale off-site corporate renewable energy PPAs for 200 MW. Others followed, and by 2014, the renewable market was reoriented and forever changed.

“We are approaching 1.5 GW of executed large-scale off-site corporate renewable energy PPAs in 2015, with more expected in the coming months.”

While end users can still support renewables directly with the purchase of RECs, demand shifted toward options which both reduce costs and meet sustainability goals. To guide this emerging industry, WWF and WRI published the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles in July 2014, and established six criteria to accelerate progress in connecting companies directly with renewables. Today, there are over 43 signatories, collectively representing more than 30 million MWh of demand for renewable energy.

By the end of 2014, more than 23 percent of all wind contracts were executed not between generators and utilities (the traditional two counter-parties), but instead directly between generators and C&I end users, demonstrating robust support for these new options.

And today, in 2015, something truly big is happening. With an abundance of projects, increased comfort by C&I decision makers with various PPA structures, and a rush to beat expiring tax credits, we are approaching 1.5 GW of executed large-scale off-site corporate renewable energy PPAs in 2015, with more expected in the coming months. We also see a growing number of industry associations and corporate commitments.


Rocky Mountain Institute launched the Business Renewables Center to accelerate corporate renewable energy procurement. At the same time, 36 companies have committed to the RE100, a global initiative to showcase companies committed to using 100 percent renewable power. A line has been crossed; end users are paving a new path to renewables, resolving challenges with innovative partnerships and creating a new landscape of renewable energy.

A tipping point for renewable energy

It is clear that we are at a tipping point today for how corporate and institutional organizations treat renewable energy. Renewable energy markets have fundamentally changed in profound ways.

Tatanka wind farmWith nearly two-thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies having made renewable energy commitments, the collective impact can have a rapid and significant effect on the energy system in America. C&I decision makers have more power and influence than ever before. They are creating new markets, no longer only just responding to them. They are tapping solar and wind through physical and virtual PPAs, ownership and leasing.

Opportunities once only available to the Googles and Facebooks of the world, the largest end users with concentrated load, are becoming ever more available to a broader set of organizations.

Originally published on RMI Outlet