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.

UPM Blandin – Improved Forest Management

UPM Blandin Native American Hardwoods Conservation Project

UPM Blandin Forestry manages 187,876 acres of native, mixed hardwood forests in Minnesota that supply timber to the UPM Blandin paper mill.  The company is committed to sustainable management of these acres and the resulting products. Blandin’s SmartForestrySM practices protect the diversity of natural forest communities, align management with ecological regimes, and reduce harvest impacts. All UPM-Blandin Forestland is Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) certified and all Blandin products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™).

In 2010, working with non-profit partners and the state of Minnesota, Blandin signed a conservation easement that grants public access in perpetuity, guarantees the property will always remain forest, and that it will be managed under sustainable practices. This sustainable practice improves carbon dioxide sequestration by the forest which, in turn, is credited under the methodology.

Throughout the span of the carbon offset project, the property will remain a working forest that produces sustainable pulpwood, saw logs, and other high-value forest products for the regional forest industry. The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

Supporting Blandin’s conservation efforts provides important co-benefits for the local communities. This forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

 

CO-BENEFITS:

Environmental:

The forest protects a diverse suite of wildlife, including 30 miles of state designated trout streams, 47 species of birds, and over 30 species of mammals including black bear, grey wolf, and moose.

Health:

The forest provides water quality protection, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities for the public. Roughly 60,000 acres of wetlands, 33 miles of lake and pond shoreline, and 151 miles of streams are protected by this project. 

Economic:

The forest supplies 17 facilities in Minnesota, supporting more than 3,200 working families and hundreds more in related businesses.

 

Photos courtesy of Richard Hamilton Smith

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3Degrees + carbon offsets

View other project profiles or contact us.

Guoluo Grassland Sustainable Management – AFOLU

Sustainable grassland management provides local employment 

Decades of overgrazing and the compounding  effects of climate change have desolated the  Qinghai’s Three River Source Region, leaving it fragile with little hope of improvement. Continued degradation of its grassland ecosystem not only posed a threat to the area’s environment and biodiversity, but the livelihoods of local herders.

In an effort to revitalize the area, the Guoluo Grassland Sustainable Management Project aims to restore the local degraded grassland ecosystem, increase grassland coverage and soil carbon stock, and implement sustainable grassland management. As the project’s primary activity, local workers have planted grass seeds on a degraded black soil beach. Once restored, the healthy grassland ecosystem is expected to generate GHG emission removals of 17,664,275 tCO2e, with an average annual GHG emissions reductions of 456,953 tCO2e. It will also serve as an attractive landscape with the potential to benefit local touristic resources and the local economy.

The project will boost the local economy by providing training and job opportunities in rodent control and grass seeding. Through this program, local community members will develop the technical skills necessary to sustainably manage the grassland. Local wildlife also stands to benefit from the project via an increase in soil organics.

 

CO-BENEFITS:

Environmental:

The project is estimated to generate over 17 million tCO2e in net estimated emissions removals and over 400,000 tCO2e in average annual GHG emissions reductions. Increased soil organics will improve life for 3 species of endangered animals (birds and mammals) and 9 species of vulnerable animals. 

 

Health:

Project implementation can purify water sources and ensure the water safety of nearby residents. 

 

Economic:

Nearly 12,000 members of the local community are expected to gain improved skills and/or knowledge resulting from training provided as part of project activities. The project is expected to create 3,386 full-time jobs.  Approximately 6,000 herders will become employed as grassland guardians. 

View other project profiles or contact us.

VERGE 2020 Studio Interview: Corporate Benefits of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard

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In this video from VERGE 2020, Dave Meyer, 3Degrees’ Director of LCFS Programs, speaks with Katie Fehrenbacher, Sr. Transportation Writer at GreenBiz, about California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard and how 3Degrees is helping organizations take advantage of this program to reduce their transportation footprint and subsidize further transportation decarbonization.

watch the interview

GOs and I-RECs: Tools for Addressing Global Scope 2 Emissions

GOs and I-RECs

As your organization works to reduce its international energy footprint (Scope 2 emissions) to meet corporate renewable energy goals, you need all the data and resources necessary to move the needle and fast.

Our I-RECs and GOs infographic illustrates the similarities and differences of these instruments and provides the quick resource you need to take action to address your organization’s environmental impact.

Want more information? Take a look at our RECs and Global Equivalents page, or Contact us.

 

First-ever Peace REC
(P-REC) transaction drives renewable energy development in Africa

 

Nuru Solar Project photos

Overview

  • Microsoft purchased P-RECs issued by Energy Peace Partners from Congolese solar developer Nuru’s newly commissioned 1.3MW commercial solar-plus-storage project in Goma, DRC.
  • The P-REC purchase helped Nuru fund the recently completed construction of 35 mini-grid-connected streetlights in the Ndosho neighborhood of Goma.
  • The streetlights: Improve quality of life with better nighttime visibility and road safety, and enhance neighborhood security; Support the local economy by allowing businesses to stay open at night; Improve air quality by reducing reliance on diesel generators, which are both expensive and highly polluting.
  • This transaction unlocks a new renewable energy attribute option that other organizations can now leverage to drive renewable projects in underserved communities around the globe.

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Background

Microsoft has long been a leader in corporate sustainability. As part of its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030, Microsoft has pledged to have its operations run with 100% renewable electricity by 2025. The company has developed business models that further the transition to renewable energy, and it seeks opportunities to invest in high impact renewable energy products and stimulate development in under-resourced communities and regions of the world.

3Degrees had been in discussions with Energy Peace Partners (EPP) since 2017, exploring ways in which the two organizations could work together to help operationalize a new and innovative instrument developed by EPP, Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECs).

So when Microsoft issued an RFP specifically geared to driving the adoption of renewables and maximizing associated environmental impacts, 3Degrees included P-RECs in the RFP response. The inaugural corporate purchase of P-RECs tests a new business model for the deployment of renewables in new geographies.

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Creating a New Instrument for Renewable Energy Sourcing

In making this first-of-its-kind transaction a reality, there were some unique challenges that needed to be addressed.

  • Because P-RECs are an entirely new instrument, there was little guidance on how they would fit into existing corporate sustainability reporting frameworks, including CDP and RE100.
  • The P-REC pilot project is a 1.3 MW ground-mounted solar installation connected to a 520 kW/2.2 MWh battery energy storage system that introduces new electrification to the neighborhood of Ndosho in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where no electrical grid infrastructure has previously existed. Like many developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa, DRC lacks widespread electrical interconnection, and this plant is not interconnected to other grids beyond Ndosho.

“With P-RECs, companies like Microsoft that are looking to procure renewable energy can invest in regions that are the most impacted by climate change and that are currently deprived of access to modern energy. Companies can maximize the impact of their investments not only from a carbon reduction perspective, but also from a climate equity perspective.”

– Vanessa Miler, Director, Energy Innovation and Impact, Microsoft

Photo courtesy of Nuru

How We Helped

3Degrees, Energy Peace Partners, and project developer Nuru worked collaboratively to create the framework for scalable and accountable corporate sourcing. 3Degrees was key to this success by:

  • Developing contractual mechanisms to implement project milestones to mitigate risks that could arise from unexpected issues related to construction of the solar plant and installation of the streetlights. This provided all parties with enough assurances to move forward and make this first-of-its-kind transaction a reality.
  • Seeking guidance from leading renewable energy and GHG reporting initiatives to understand how these platforms could accommodate this new and unique instrument.
  • Continuing to advocate for standardized guidance on how to report EACs that differ from standard renewable energy usage claims but do directly support market development in regions with limited electrical grid interconnection and renewable energy procurement options. The development of P-RECs has encouraged RE100 to consider P-RECs in the context of flexibility mechanisms for regions like sub-Saharan Africa, although no new guidance has yet been issued.

“We developed the P-REC in order to support new renewable energy projects in fragile, energy poor regions of the world. With this inaugural P-REC purchase, Microsoft is demonstrating that corporate renewable energy procurement can be high impact by making a difference in communities like Ndosho, where increased access to sustainable and affordable power will be transformative. Energy Peace Partners is proud of this groundbreaking collaboration with Microsoft, 3Degrees, and Nuru.”

– David Mozersky, President, Energy Peace Partners


P-REC Project profile

The Nuru solar energy project

Photo courtesy of Nuru

The P-RECs for Microsoft’s transaction will be issued by Energy Peace Partners (EPP) and associated with Congolese solar developer Nuru’s newly commissioned 1.3MW commercial solar-plus-storage plant in Goma, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where less than 3% of residents have access to electricity. The system is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest solar-plus-storage off-grid mini-grids currently in operation and will provide power to more than 700 households and anchor enterprise clients.

Microsoft’s P-REC purchase assisted Nuru (which means light in Swahili) to fund the construction of mini-grid-connected streetlights in the Ndosho neighborhood of Goma, a community impact project co-designed with local stakeholders. The streetlights are improving night time safety and security in the community, allowing businesses to stay open at night, reducing reliance on diesel generators, and expanding renewable energy capacity in an area that has never had grid infrastructure.

Read more: Nuru Solar Energy Project Profile

Darigold invests in long-term sustainable agriculture (video)

Darigold Carbon Offset Project

Darigold and the Northwest Dairy Association (NDA), have led the industry in environmental stewardship for years. In 2018, Darigold won the Community Impact Award for Sustainability from the Seattle Business Magazine. To build on this progress, Royal Dairy (a member of NDA) invested in a BioFiltro vermicomposting system which prevents the release of 34,000 tons of CO2-equivalent from their farm’s manure management lagoon.

Watch this video learn more about this innovative carbon reduction technology.

WATCH THE VIDEO

 

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)

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    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

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