The Market Analysis Platform ("MAP") is a software package that provides insight to potential buyers and others on where wind and solar power purchase agreements are more likely to be economically attractive.
Market Analysis Platform Helps Companies Optimize Renewable Energy Purchases
Stephen Abbott | Business Renewables Center
Please tell us a bit about the Business Renewables Center (BRC)?
The Business Renewables Center (BRC) is a member-based platform that streamlines and accelerates corporate procurement of off-site renewable energy. Nearly two-thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have set ambitious renewable energy or related sustainability targets. Renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) and other offsite transactions present a fast and effective way for large companies to fulfill their sustainability targets, yet executing these transactions can be challenging for companies without significant experience in electricity markets. The BRC helps corporations unlock this opportunity by generating awareness about these transactions, developing a community of interested parties, and developing products to overcome specific market challenges.
How has the Business Renewables Center (BRC) grown since its inception in 2014?
The BRC formally began in 2015 with 28 founding members. By mid 2016 we had almost 130 members, and now our total membership is over 200. These members include (i) companies, universities, or other organizations that want to buy renewable energy, (ii) project developers, and (iii) third party service providers such as law firms, accounting firms, brokers, consultants, etc. More than half of our members are in the first category (i.e. "buyers").
What are the latest ways that BRC helps its members procure more renewable energy?
Last January, the BRC released templates for both RFPs (Requests for Proposal) and PPA Term Sheets. While most corporate buyers will have individual requirements, the BRC templates provide guidance on the most important issues and clauses that companies should consider when issuing an RFP or negotiating a PPA. These templates were designed with broad input from our membership and are intended to represent the direction that the market is moving on a number of important issues, including the most common ways to allocate risks.
What is the Market Analysis Platform and how does it work?
The Market Analysis Platform ("MAP") is a software package that provides insight to potential buyers and others on where wind and solar power purchase agreements are more likely to be economically attractive. While companies and other "buyers" choose to purchase renewable energy for a variety of reasons, economics are an important consideration in determining which transactions to pursue. However, to fully evaluate the economics of a renewable energy deal, buyers need to consider both the cost of the energy which they purchase and also the value of that energy in the electricity markets. Unfortunately, these values vary considerably over time and across locations, so conducting this analysis and comparing a large number of locations is difficult and time intensive. The MAP calculates these values for over 4300 locations across the US based on accumulated market data and proprietary algorithms.
How will developers and sellers of large-scale renewable energy projects benefit from the Market Analysis Platform?
Developers interested in signing contracts with non-utility buyers need to be aware of trends in the market in order to provide projects and products that best meet their customers' needs.
How do corporations find value in using the platform?
Corporations, and other buyers, can use the platform to evaluate and compare the relative economics of wind and solar projects across the country. In the process, some corporations may also develop an improved understanding of how these transactions work and what questions they should consider when entering into discussions with developers.
Will we continue to see strong interest in renewables for corporates moving forward?
Private companies have doubled down on their sustainability commitments. According to a report by WWF, Calvert Investments, CDP and Ceres, nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies have a climate or clean energy target. 96 companies have committed specifically to using 100% renewable energy through the RE100 initiative. Most recently, earlier this month, a coalition of states, companies, and other organizations representing $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy announced an intention to continue abiding by the Paris Agreement.
About Stephen Abbott
Stephen Abbott is a Manager within Rocky Mountain Institute's Business Renewables Center ("BRC"), where he currently oversees the BRC's online platform and resources. During his three years on the BRC team, Stephen has developed several of the BRC’s products and presented regularly in conferences and webinars. Prior to the BRC, Stephen’s work at RMI focused on helping large universities source offsite renewable energy.
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