Over 125,000 customers participate in innovative renewable energy program
In 2000, Pacific Power, a regulated utility serving customers across a six state region, launched its Blue SkySM renewable energy program. The program was well-received and steadily gained customers in its early years.
By 2004, Pacific Power was offering three different products within the program and went in search of a third party marketing partner. The utility had a strong desire to reach more of their service area, particularly regions in Oregon beyond their most urban service areas, while continuing to steadily grow the program year over year and was looking for a partner to help them achieve these goals.
3Degrees was awarded the business and is now in its 6th consecutive contract with Pacific Power. The 3Degrees/Pacific Power partnership is a great example of what true collaboration and innovative thinking can do for a voluntary renewable energy program and the results tell a pretty powerful story.
3Degrees and Pacific Power
3Degrees has provided program management support, marketing, outreach across the six state service area and REC supply services for the largest product offering in Oregon. The program has grown to exceed 125,000 residential and business participants through a suite of award-winning marketing and customer outreach tactics and is consistently ranked as one of the top renewable energy programs in the country by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
To address the unique challenges of selling a premium-priced renewable energy product to both rural and urban areas, across multiple states, serving a wide variety of customers with diverse motivations, 3Degrees and Pacific Power have developed a multi-pronged approach that focuses on:
1. Results-driven marketing plans:
Pacific Power and 3Degrees establish annual goals each year and then build a marketing plan that delivers on those objectives. Goals often include amplifying a core utility message, geo-targeting customers in a specific community and delivering on awareness or enrollment targets.
Thanks to 3Degrees’ subscription modeling, the program has always met or exceeded its targets for annual enrollments. As a result, it is entirely self-funded, which ensures the program can continue growing and delivering value for years to come.
2. Compelling products:
In 2016, 3Degrees took its innovative REC supply approach one step further by looking for new projects that needed long-term, premium REC purchase commitments to make the project viable. The team looked to identify renewable energy projects that had not yet been financed, worked with developers to determine the REC price needed to secure financing or get the project built and then signed long-term REC contracts to guarantee the income stream for multiple year periods.
This strategy drove the development of 51 megawatts (MWs) of additional renewable capacity in the state of Oregon, with the Huntington Wind project and Blue Basin Power, a solar project in southern Oregon. The ability to point to local projects that were developed directly from Blue Sky program participants’ support provides a unique and powerful messaging opportunity to both current and prospective program participants in the region.
The team recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to compelling messaging for customers across all of Pacific Power’s regions. Thus, customization of marketing materials and message points is extremely important. To reach the 40 percent of Oregon customers living in Southern Oregon (an area that was previously under-enrolled), 3Degrees and Pacific Power worked to include RECs from a local landfill, established partnerships with local cities, and worked with Pacific Power to create campaigns leveraging local imagery and messaging. The results were an impressive 50 percent increase in participation over three years.
“We have worked hand-in-hand with the 3Degrees team for more than a decade; in that time they have helped us make our Blue Sky renewable energy program one of the top renewable energy programs in the country. 3Degrees’ expertise in program design and implementation has allowed us to continually evolve the Blue Sky program to keep it relevant to customers, the renewable energy market, and to the utility. We are proud to offer this program to our customers.”
–Berit Kling, Program Manager, Pacific Power Blue Sky