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Smart Energy Decisions: 2019: A Banner Year for Corporate Renewable Energy

Posted by Caitlin Marquis on Dec 13, 2019

Smart Energy Decisions published AEE's Caitlin Marquis' look back at key advanced energy trends for large corporate procurement this past record-breaking year and a look ahead at what 2020 might hold. Read excerpts below and the entire Smart Energy Decisions piece here. 

Corporate renewable energy procurement is no longer a new trend. Commercial and industrial (C&I) customers have become an important slice of the overall market driving renewable energy development.  While increasingly mature, the C&I market for renewable energy is far from static. In this column, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) provides a look back at key trends from the past year and a look ahead at what 2020 might hold.

It was another record-setting year for corporate renewable energy agreements. According to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, which keeps a tally of C&I projects, corporate purchasers had signed more than 7 GW of deals as of October 2019, up from last year’s record of 6.4 GW. Analysis from Wood Mackenzie and the American Wind Energy Association indicates that this trend is unlikely to slow down, with a projected 85 GW of demand for renewable energy among C&I customers through 2030.

Utility renewable energy offerings continue to proliferate. New renewable energy programs proposed and/or approved in 2019 include Georgia Power’s Customer Renewable Energy Supply Procurement (CRSP) program, Florida Power & Light’s SolarTogether, Duke’s Green Source Advantage in North Carolina, and Portland General Electric’s Green Future Impact program in Oregon. Compared to the mixed success of the first few utility green tariffs introduced in 2013, these newer programs have a higher overall participation rate, and some have been fully or even over-subscribed.

Some of these new programs have met customer needs by borrowing from tried-and-true models. Georgia Power’s CRSP program, for example, is based on the utility’s earlier and successful C&I Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI), which was fully subscribed. Other utility programs, including PGE’s Green Future Impact, have taken an approach that borrows heavily from the REDI program. Yet programs such as SolarTogether, with more than 1 GW subscribed by C&I customers at the time of proposal, have taken new approaches to program design. In SolarTogether (still pending approval), the program assigns costs and most of the benefits to participants, yet allows nonparticipating customers to enjoy some of the benefits from the new, cost-competitive solar energy as well. (Utilities still looking to hop on the bandwagon can refer to a prior post by AEE in Smart Energy Decisions, which walks through the steps for successful program implementation...)

Read the entire Smart Energy Decisions piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News