Author: Giselle Patton

How Stir Foods is leveraging market-based incentives to electrify its operations

Stir Foods logo

Stir Foods logo

Like a finely crafted recipe, a business’s operations, investments, and revenue streams must come together just so to build a successful enterprise. For Stir Foods, a Southern California food production company, these ingredients are key to its rapid growth. Since merging with two other food manufacturers in 2018, the company has made significant investments to become a premier provider of quality food products for large-scale food producers, retailers, and restaurants.

Part of its investment has gone toward building state-of-the-art production facilities that can scale along with its growth projections. The company began electrifying its facilities and fleet in 2016. Beyond streamlining production, transitioning to electric and low carbon vehicles has the added benefits of eliminating facility emissions, improving air quality, and helping to meet California’s strict health and safety standards.

Though hugely beneficial, the cost of these upgrades are significant and can be prohibitive. Fortunately, various incentive programs have been created to help improve the economics of EV infrastructure installation and total cost of ownership considerations related to EV purchasing. One of the most lucrative of these programs is California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), a market-based incentive program that focuses on reducing the emissions intensity of the transportation fuel pool. Entities using low-carbon fuels can generate credits which are sold to deficit generators (primarily fossil fuel producers), with the credit generator receiving revenue for those credits. Based on the way the program is structured, electric forklifts are especially well-suited to generate credits and revenue that help organizations finance the electrification of their cargo handling vehicle fleet.

Challenges

The financial upside of participating in the LCFS is clear for electric forklift owners and lessees, however for small-to-mid tier organizations, accessing the market, managing the program’s reporting requirements, maximizing the credit value (via the use of renewable energy) and garnering favorable rates for the relatively small number of credits they generate can be challenging. The LCFS crediting process can be complex and onerous.

Managing the pathway validation process, filing quarterly utilization data, monetizing credits, and conducting annual reporting is time-consuming and requires a great deal of scrutiny, and that can mean a significant time investment from operations and facilities employees that already have their plates full with mission-critical daily tasks. Stir Foods understood that in order to focus on its core business and meet the demands of its growing customer base, it needed to outsource the LCFS credit generation and sale process to a trusted partner that allowed them to access program revenues while retaining the vast majority of the tens of thousands of dollars in credit value to which they are entitled every quarter.

How we helped

LCFS icon

Provided LCFS education and market insight

Business icon

Managed the pathway validation process

Certificate icon

Maximized credit via renewable energy pairing, and aggregating credit sales.

LCFS icon

Provided LCFS education and market insight

Business icon

Managed the pathway validation process

Certificate icon

Maximized credit via renewable energy pairing, and aggregating credit sales.

3Degrees worked closely with Stir Foods to provide education and market insight, so the company could understand the full value of the opportunity available through the LCFS. After assessing all of Stir Foods’ eligible facilities and helping them understand the compelling revenue generation opportunity available from credit generation and sales, 3Degrees collected relevant equipment and vehicle data and managed the LCFS registration process. This step included the re-registration of equipment that Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) vendors were claiming for themselves.

With registration complete, 3Degrees helped Stir Foods recognize the maximum value for its credit generation. By pairing their credits with renewable energy directly originated by 3Degrees and aggregating supply, 3Degrees was able to avoid additional brokerage fees and build economies of scale resulting in a vastly more competitive rate than if Stir Foods had monetized LCFS credits through an existing partner rebate program or independently. 3Degrees continues to remit the vast majority of the credit value to Stir, in contrast to many other market participants who often return a much smaller fraction of the credit value to customers.

“We were grateful for 3Degrees bringing this revenue opportunity to our attention, for their transparency in illustrating the full value of LCFS credits, and their ability to help us seamlessly tap into an incentive program that funds our electric vehicle fleet now and in the future.”

— Pablo Gallo Llorente, CFO, Stir Foods

Results

After having taken part in the program for over a year, Stir Foods has found the initial LCFS financial models provided by 3Degrees to be precise. Working with 3Degrees has helped Stir Foods uncover and capture an entirely new revenue stream while avoiding a significant portion of the administrative burden that would have made participation otherwise unworkable. After the initial steps in data collection and set up, the program is now on auto-pilot. The revenue generated quarterly from the sale of its LCFS credits can now help finance the fueling, operations, and maintenance of their existing fleet and support additional electrification and lower carbon vehicle activities.

LCFS Credits revenue:

  • Helps finance fueling, operations and maintenance of existing fleet
  • Supports additional electrification
  • Supports other lower carbon vehicle activities
  • Helps finance fueling, operations and maintenance of existing fleet
  • Supports additional electrification
  • Supports other lower carbon vehicle activities

High-impact aggregated solar projects tackle energy affordability issues in low-income communities

 

Project type: Shared Solar Energy

Developer: BlueHub Capital logo

 

A reduced energy burden and extra $500 a year can allow for new opportunities, particularly for low-to-moderate income communities. One family is able to give its children lunch money. A neighbor fills her gas tank to get to and from work. A few units down, three roommates attend a community event they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. What would you do if half of your annual electricity bill was eliminated? This is a question residents of two affordable housing developments pondered when they were given net metering credits from a solar array to offset their electricity bill.

“I live in an apartment building, so typically I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of solar. But the shared Solar Program for Cranberry Manor makes it so easy. Everything about the program is great, from saving the environment to saving us money.”

– Kalissa S., a Onset Shared Solar Program participant

Project type: Shared Solar Energy

Developer:

A reduced energy burden and extra $500 a year can allow for new opportunities, particularly for low-to-moderate income communities. One family is able to give its children lunch money. A neighbor fills her gas tank to get to and from work. A few units down, three roommates attend a community event they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford. What would you do if half of your annual electricity bill was eliminated? This is a question residents of two affordable housing developments pondered when they were given net metering credits from a solar array to offset their electricity bill.

“I live in an apartment building, so typically I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of solar. But the shared Solar Program for Cranberry Manor makes it so easy. Everything about the program is great, from saving the environment to saving us money.”

 – Kalissa S., a Onset Shared Solar Program participant

In the last decade, there has been a rapid increase in the installation of rooftop solar around the world. And although solar can offer significant financial savings, with heavy upfront costs and strict physical specifications, its deployment has historically been unattainable for many low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.

Developer and nonprofit community development financial institution BlueHub Capital extends the benefits of renewable energy generation to LMI communities throughout Massachusetts. To date, BlueHub has developed approximately 7MWh of PV solar energy across the state. Roughly half of that comes in the form of rooftop solar projects on affordable housing developments. The other half are community solar projects serving 21 affordable housing developments, two nonprofit community facilities, and a pilot program serving low-income tenants.

BlueHub’s program and the entire residential solar industry is built on a mechanism known as net metering. Net metering allows a customer to be credited when excess electricity is sent to the grid. BlueHub’s pilot program, Onset Shared Solar Program, uses energy credits generated from two ground-mounted solar arrays to offset the electricity bills of residents at neighboring affordable housing developments. On average, participating customers see their bills reduced by half ﹘ a huge benefit for those struggling with rising utility costs.

The Mill Street Solar Project is another BlueHub project that utilizes virtual net metering to offset nearly 80% the electricity use of four local organizations. Projects like Onset Shared Solar and Mill Street Solar ensure that all communities can benefit from the environmental improvements of solar energy. Through its work, BlueHub makes sure that underserved communities can participate in climate change solutions and helps to build a future with more renewable resources.

The sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from these types of projects is critical to expanding access to solar for affordable housing developments and the communities they serve. With the growing accessibility and diversification of REC products, buyers can now integrate social impact considerations into their procurement decision making process.

To support energy justice opportunities, and push the market toward higher impact REC products, 3Degrees purchased a supply of 2021 RECs from BlueHub’s aggregated solar projects. To learn more about increasing the impact of your renewable energy purchase, contact us.

“We don’t find this just to be a cost benefit to GAAMHA, but a benefit to the community of Gardner and to the environment.”

– Tracy H., GAAMHA CEO

 

CO-BENEFITS

Environmental:

  • BlueHub’s solar energy projects reduce an estimated 3,652 tons of carbon emissions per year, which is equivalent to removing 1,260 cars from the road.
  • Virtual net metering projects allow ground-mounted solar systems to be built on land with negligible use, like brownfields, that have no economic value.

  • BlueHub’s solar energy projects reduce an estimated 3,652 tons of carbon emissions per year, which is equivalent to removing 1,260 cars from the road.
  • Virtual net metering projects allow ground-mounted solar systems to be built on land with negligible use, like brownfields, that have no economic value.

Economic:

  • Both the shared and rooftop solar projects stabilized and lowered electricity costs for affordable housing developments, nonprofit, and municipal facilities.
  • The national power system benefits from an inflow of low-to-no-cost solar energy being put onto the grid.

  • Both the shared and rooftop solar projects stabilized and lowered electricity costs for affordable housing developments, nonprofit, and municipal facilities.
  • The national power system benefits from an inflow of low-to-no-cost solar energy being put onto the grid.

Health:

The United State’s  energy system has created pollution leading to poor health outcomes in underserved communities. The expansion of shared solar improves air quality in LMI communities.

 

Social:

Shared solar projects ensure that marginalized communities see improvements from the deployment of renewables by involving climate justice in clean energy programs.

 

Photo provided by BlueHub and Marilyn Humphries Photography

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(Improved Forest Management) Blue Creek

 

Project type: Improved forest management

Emission reduction type: Carbon removals

Standard: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Conserving a Cold-water Lifeline for Salmon on California’s Redwood Coast

Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), an Oregon-based non-profit conservation organization, has purchased 47,097-acres along Blue Creek in Northern California and is working to use carbon finance to transfer the forested property back to the Yurok Tribe. Today, 14,790 acres are conserved as a “salmon sanctuary” with protection from harvesting. The other 32,307 acres are managed as a tribal “community forest” with limited sustainable harvesting. WRC has also placed a carbon project on nearly 15,000-acres of the property. As the project area recovers from industrial management, the California Air Resources Board Forestry Protocol will credit the project exclusively for new carbon growth, meaning all the carbon credits generated can be considered carbon removals.

Saving Blue Creek, Lifeline of the Klamath River from Western Rivers Conservancy on Vimeo.

Project type: Improved forest management

Emission reduction type: Carbon removals

Standard: California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), an Oregon-based non-profit conservation organization, has purchased 47,097-acres along Blue Creek in Northern California and is working to use carbon finance to transfer the forested property back to the Yurok Tribe. Today, 14,790 acres are conserved as a “salmon sanctuary” with protection from harvesting. The other 32,307 acres are managed as a tribal “community forest” with limited sustainable harvesting. WRC has also placed a carbon project on nearly 15,000-acres of the property. As the project area recovers from industrial management, the California Air Resources Board Forestry Protocol will credit the project exclusively for new carbon growth, meaning all the carbon credits generated can be considered carbon removals.

Saving Blue Creek, Lifeline of the Klamath River from Western Rivers Conservancy on Vimeo.

CO-BENEFITS

Environmental:

Habitat preservation

The project protects Blue Creek, where the riparian and upland areas provide outstanding habitat for rare and imperiled animals like marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, California condor, and Humboldt marten. Blue Creek also acts as a cold-water lifeline for salmon in the Klamath watershed. The Klamath was once the third largest producer of salmon on the West Coast, but faces many significant threats today. Salmon and steelhead are impacted by high water temperatures resulting from low summer flows. For returning fish on their journey inland from the Pacific Ocean, Blue Creek is the first cold-water refuge they encounter and this project ensures its long-term protection. Blue Creek’s cold water allows salmon and steelhead to lower their body temperature by as much as eight degrees, making this tributary critical to their survival.

Social:

Repatriation of indigenous lands

WRC is using carbon revenue to pay for the purchase of the property, implement restoration work and ultimately transfer the land back to the Yurok Tribe. Carbon and sustainable timber revenue generated by the property will support the Yurok Tribe over the long-term. Currently, 80% of the tribe lives below the poverty line. Conserving this property will help spur an economic revitalization by offering new sustainable management job opportunities in an economically depressed area. Carbon finance enables the return of ancestral lands to the Yurok, who–before this project–only retained five percent of the original reservation promised to the tribe in 1855.

To learn more about the Western Rivers Blue Creek project and how your organization can support this initiative and address its GHG emissions with verified emissions reductions, Get in Touch.

Photos courtesy of Western Rivers Conservancy

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(Landfill Gas Capture) Larimer Landfill

Larimer County Landfill Gas Project

The Larimer County Landfill is located roughly a mile south of Fort Collins, Colorado. This facility began collecting municipal solid waste in 1986. The cities within Larimer County already had an active recycling program that separates paper, glass and metals, but in September 2009, to address the landfill’s methane emissions, an active gas collection system with 41 wells was voluntarily installed. This system collects the gas and pipes it to the landfill gas processing facility, where a blower sends the gas through a condensate pump and on to an open flare.

Image Open gas flare at the Larimer County Landfill in Fort Collins, CO

Open gas flare at the Larimer County Landfill. Fort Collins, CO

Environmental Benefits

The emission reductions occur when the methane in the landfill gas is destroyed in the flare and is converted to carbon dioxide, which has a much lower global warming potential than methane. The landfill gas collection and combustion system generates annual emission reductions on the order of 20,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

Health Benefits

Roughly 3,000 people live within a 2-mile radius of Larimer County Landfill and benefit from improved air conditions as a result of the project. In addition to methane and carbon dioxide, landfill gas contains numerous other volatile compounds (VOCs), some of which are listed as hazardous air pollutants that pose threats to human health, such as respiratory irritation, central nervous system damage and cancer. The combustion of landfill gas destroys many of these hazardous air pollutants.

Economic Benefits

In 2010, a 1.6 megawatt electric generator was installed to use the captured gas to generate renewable power on site. The power is sold to the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association, and the utility uses the landfill’s generated electricity to service its customers. Any excess collected gas is combusted in the open flare. 

The innovation of this county landfill project has ensured that the local communities enjoy a reliable power source for years to come without the negative impacts of harmful environmental toxins.

 

 

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(Renewables) Prairie Winds

Prairie Winds aids in the transition toward decarbonized economy in North Dakota

In 2009, the year of its commissioning, Prairie Winds Emissions Reduction Project was the biggest undertaking by an electric power cooperative in the United States.  Owned and operated by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Prairie Winds is located near Minot, North Dakota, roughly two hours north of Bismarck. The project consists of 77 1.5 megawatt turbines and delivers power into the Western Area Power Administration’s (WAPA) Upper Great Plains East. Emissions reductions are generated by displacing grid connected electricity from traditional fossil fuel electricity sources, reducing our reliance on higher carbon intensive fuels such as coal and natural gas.

With an annual generation of 300,000 MWh of clean energy, Prairie Winds aids in the transition toward a decarbonized economy, and provides greater access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and efficient energy solutions. More low-carbon technologies, such as renewable energy projects like this one, further climate change mitigation.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the project resulted in new job creation during the construction phase and permanent jobs since becoming a working operation. Investments in renewable energy promote resilient infrastructure, inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.

 

Prairie Winds near Minot, North Dakota

An aerial view of PrairieWinds near Minot, ND. Courtesy of www.basinelectric.com

 

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(Energy Efficiency) Biolite India

Cook stoves reduce emissions in Indian households

This project involves the distribution of approximately 2,300 domestic fuel-efficient cook stoves to households throughout India. These cooking stoves, which are developed by BioLite and are distributed and installed in collaboration with CO2Balance, are ultra-clean, fan-assisted wood stoves that cut toxic pollutant emissions by 90 percent, and reduce fuel use by 50 percent. In addition to utilizing BioLite’s patented technology (Direct Conduction Thermoelectric System), the HomeStove also generates its own electricity, providing users with enough reliable, on-demand electricity in a day’s cooking to charge a mobile phone and provide an evening’s worth of LED light.

The HomeStove is sold to individual households in exchange for the rights to the Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs). Most local families would not otherwise have access to these fuel-efficient cook stoves because of its prohibitive expense.

Family using HomeStove

Family using HomeStove. Photo courtesy of BioLite Stove at Flickr.com

Health Benefits

170 million Indian households cook their meals on smoky, open wood fires. These fires contribute to the growing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. In addition, recent studies have determined that open fire cooking creates more black carbon – the second biggest contributor to global warming – than all the world’s cars and trucks combined. Traditional cook stoves also contribute to significant health and economic costs for users in India. The World Health Organization estimates that over four million people die annually from diseases related to indoor air pollution – more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. In India alone, roughly 875,000 die as a result of indoor air pollution each year. The introduction and widespread adoption of these clean burning stoves will help prevent unnecessary illness and loss of life to this impoverished area of the country.

 

Economic & Environmental Benefits

Most biomass-burning households in India lack reliable access to electricity; 90 million of them have no electricity at all. This forces these families to use dirty, expensive kerosene lamps for lighting. Purchasing fuel for these lamps can account for between 5 and 30 percent of a family’s income, which costs India’s lower class an estimated $2.2 billion every year. Additionally, wood and solid biomass fuels also impose considerable economic cost to families, either in productive hours lost collecting or in the money required for purchasing the fuel. 

BioLite hires local residents to manage on-the-ground operations, including importing the stoves and managing distribution relationships creating new employment opportunities in the region. Wood and solid biomass fuels also impose considerable economic cost to families, either in productive hours lost collecting or in the money required for purchasing the fuel.

Furthermore, preventing local deforestation for fuel usage will ensure the maintenance of regional watersheds that regulate water table levels and prevent flash flooding. Decreasing firewood consumption protects local ecosystems and wildlife habitats and prevents deforestation, which can reduce erosion and nutrient loss. The updated cookware ensures a healthier household and much cleaner planet.

 

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(Energy Efficiency) Biolite Uganda

Cook stoves reduce emissions in Ugandan households

The BioLite Improved Stove Programme distributes approximately 2,500 domestic fuel-efficient cook stoves to Ugandan households. A BioLite HomeStove is an ultra-clean burning fan-assisted wood stove that cuts toxic pollutant emissions by 90% for a cleaner planet and a healthier household, and reduces fuel use by 50%. In addition, utilizing BioLite’s patented Direct Conduction Thermoelectric System (DCTS), the HomeStove also generates its own electricity, providing users with enough reliable, on-demand electricity in a day’s cooking to fully charge a mobile phone and provide an evening’s worth of bright, LED light.  

HomeStoves are delivered to households.

HomeStoves are delivered to households. Photo courtesy of www.bioliteenergy.com.

Reduced Deforestation 

According to the United Nations, Uganda lost 26 percent of its forest cover between 1990 – 2005, and is still seeing a deforestation rate of over 2 percent each year. A typical Ugandan family uses wood or charcoal as their primary fuels for cooking. Because these new stoves rely on biomass and not wood, surrounding forests are being significantly less affected, protecting ecosystems and local wildlife habitats. The introduction and widespread adoptions of these HomeStoves will further reduce deforestation for fuel consumption, therefore decreasing erosion and nutrient loss. The protection of standing forests will ensure the maintenance of watersheds that regulate water table levels and prevent flash flooding. 

Health Benefits 

Traditional wood and charcoal burning stoves emit an extensive amount of harmful toxins. By introducing biomass stoves, there are less indoor air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Safety in the home is improved, with fewer injuries, burns and respiratory diseases. While cooking, the HomeStove also generates its own electricity, providing users with the ability to charge a phone, or provide light.

Economic Benefits 

The presence of the HomeStove increases the standard of living for each household, as families can spend less time cooking and searching for firewood, and more time pursuing opportunities for economic development. The importation, sale, distribution, maintenance and monitoring of the HomeStoves also create employment opportunities throughout Uganda. The increased thermal efficiency of the cookstoves provide an economic benefit to rural Uganda, allowing households to spend more money on essentials, such as food, healthcare, and education.

 

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Krong Pa Solar Farm

Gia Lai Province Vietnam

Krong Pa Solar Farm brings renewable energy and local benefits in Vietnam

Located in the Gia Lai province of Vietnam, the Krong Pa Solar Farm is one of the first large-scale grid-connected solar farms developed under the nation’s new solar feed-in-tariff policy. The project was commissioned in December 2018, and developed by Gia Lai Electricity Company (GEC), a local renewable energy company with numerous projects in Vietnam. This project is connected to the 110KV national transmission network and contains 209,100 330Wp panels.

Nestled in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, Krong Pa Solar Farm was developed in alignment with local and international standards. No permanent households were relocated for the project. In addition to generating over 100 GWh of solar energy per year and reducing carbon emissions by approximately 80,000 tCO2e annually, the solar farm has numerous co-benefits:

+ Local residents were employed for the construction, maintenance, and continued operation of the project.

+ The project owner is providing support to the local community, including:

+ Local housing opportunities

+ Renovating a local kindergarten

+ Constructing and improving local access roads

+ Installing a water supply pipe for Kien Xuong village

Krong Pa Solar Farm in the Gia Lai province of Vietnam

Krong Pa Solar Farm in the Gia Lai province of Vietnam

3Degrees + Renewable Energy
Certificates

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