No organization is too small to drive climate impact with renewables. Small to mid-sized institutions can capture the full benefits of renewable energy through demand-side aggregation.
In the U.S., large corporate and institutional electricity buyers such as Google, Corning, and Michigan State University are increasingly purchasing renewable energy directly from solar or wind farms. Other small to mid-size organizations, lacking the capacity and demand to purchase large-scale renewable energy, may think that low-cost green energy options are only accessible to the largest of organizations.
While scale is key to getting the best deal and making the biggest impact, aggregating demand with others can allow small or decentralized organizations to realize the economic value that the largest purchasers have captured through their renewable energy purchases, while enabling new emissions-free generating capacity to be added to the power grid. CFR was a pioneer of this purchasing strategy with renewables, which has proven to be a replicable model
Due to economies of scale, the most attractive power purchase agreement (PPA) prices and project partners (developers, financiers, etc.) are captured with large-scale projects. As a result, it is challenging to find cost-competitive solutions that cover demands smaller than 35 megawatts (MW) – or roughly 100,000 MWh a year.
Aggregating with others is the best way for small- to mid-sized institutions, or those wishing only to address a small portion of their load, to cost-effectively meet their sustainability and business goals with RE. Adding others to the purchasing group creates demand for a larger project at attractive rates that would have been inaccessible as a standalone.
A replicable model.
Once a novel idea, CFR has successfully facilitated demand-side aggregations – including the largest of its kind, a 60 MW joint solar purchase between MIT, Post Office Square and Boston Medical Center – with several pioneering institutions such as:
American University (approx. 13 MW – higher education)
Boston Medical Center (15 MW – healthcare)
The George Washington Hospital (approx. 4 MW – healthcare)
Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation (1 MW – real estate)
None of these organizations in and by themselves would have been able to achieve pricing and deal structure normally reserved for a Fortune 500 company.
The idea of pooling resources to increase bargaining power is not new, but it is being newly applied to large renewable energy purchases. Now, no matter your size, location, or type, you can harness the economic, environmental and risk mitigation benefits of a large-scale renewable energy solution by aggregating purchases with others.