Of the more than 15 gigawatts of corporate renewable energy deals done to date, less than 2 GW have occurred through utility programs, with the vast majority of power purchase agreements occurring in states that have competitive wholesale markets. A new report from the Advanced Energy Buyers Group, a business-led coalition of large energy users, explains how states with vertically integrated electricity markets can unlock the many benefits of corporate renewable energy procurement.
Released today, the report, “Renewable Energy Offerings that Work for Companies: A Practical Guide to Meeting Corporate Renewable Energy Demand in Vertically Integrated Markets,” outlines six steps for states to follow as well as replicable best practices for both utility offerings and competitive market access, with examples taken from states across the country.
“While it’s true that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution that can be directly copied and pasted for use by all utilities in every state, there are a lot of lessons to draw on when developing new solutions,” said Caitlin Marquis, director at Advanced Energy Economy, a national business group that facilitates the Advanced Energy Buyers Group. “States with vertically integrated markets are at a disadvantage in attracting corporations with sustainability commitments, but they don’t have to start from scratch in figuring out how to give these corporate buyers access to the renewable energy they want.”
The guide distills the process of developing new advanced energy options into six simple steps:
- Seek advice and input from customers, industry, and other states;
- Determine which approaches align best with your state and/or utility circumstances;
- Account for the different needs of different customers—including nonparticipants;
- Adopt replicable best practices;
- Guide customers through the decision and enrollment process; and
- Review, iterate and improve.
The guide also dives deeply into step four (adopting replicable best practices) by providing examples — good and bad — of existing state programs from across the country. These include examples from states that have enacted retail choice or direct access (a form of retail choice limited to a certain subset of customers, generally large commercial and industrial customers) in the areas of customer protection, customer control, program size, customer eligibility, transition costs, duration and renewable energy requirements. The guide also explores best practices for utility renewable energy programs (often called green tariffs), on rate structures, program caps and expansion, customer eligibility, resource selection, term options, renewable energy certificate (REC) treatment, program fees and termination provisions.
For states that want to unlock the economic benefits of renewable energy options for corporate customers but don’t know where to start, and for states or utilities that have begun exploring opportunities and want to hone in on the best approach, the Advanced Energy Buyers Group’s practical guide offers a roadmap for action.
News item from the Advanced Energy Buyers Group