Tag Archives: Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

How to view the purchase of wind power by Vail Resorts

By Allen Best, Mountain Town News

By any measure, the Vail Resorts power play announced in November was big. Vail’s virtual power-purchase agreement will give it 310,000-megawatt-hours of production annually from the Plum Creek Wind Project near Wayne, Neb., beginning in 2020. That’s sufficient, says the company, to meet the company’s projected fiscal year 2019 electricity use at its North American operations. With this, the company will have achieved 100 percent net-zero emissions a decade ahead of its 2030 goal.

Others in corporate America have been hurrying to make the same claim. The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy think tank, reported in October that corporate purchases were expected to surpass five gigawatts of power in 2018. That’s roughly a 1,600 percent increase from 2013. Among the big buyers: Facebook, AT&T, Walmart, and Microsoft. Continue reading here.

This story, with slightly different text, was originally published in the January-February issue of Ski Area Management.

About the Author
Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. View all posts by Allen Best.

About Vail Resorts Corporation

Lincoln Clean Energy photo of the partially-completed Plum Creek Wind Farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Once operational, the project will create high-paying local jobs and will result in over $3 million in local community benefits annually in the Wayne County area. This includes much needed property tax revenues, with some of the largest beneficiaries being the Norfolk and Winside school districts.

Additional Recommended Reading
Transforming Electric Supply for Small-Town and Rural America, Microgrid Knowledge
The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Kevin Brehm, Madeline Tyson and Jeff Waller offer takeways on how rural electric cooperatives are transforming electric supply with distributed energy resources (DERs).

Bloomberg-Backed Cities Initiative Aims to Deploy 2.8GW of Renewables by 2021

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

The Rocky Mountain Institute, World Resources Institute and the city of Minneapolis on Tuesday announced the formation of a new group designed to help municipalities procure more renewables in the next two years. The program is based on RMI’s Business Renewables Center, which helps corporations buy more renewables.

The new program, called the American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator, targets 2.8 gigawatts of renewables being deployed by cities nationwide by 2021. It’s part of a greater $70 million initiative spearheaded by Bloomberg Philanthropies to encourage climate action at the municipal level. Organizers say the programs are another attempt to provide local leadership in the wake of federal inaction on climate change. Read more here.

American Cities Climate Challenge Renewables Accelerator

Additional Recommended Reading
Effort is launched to help cities procure more than 2.8 GW of renewables, American Public
Power Association. Several public power cities were winners in American Cities Climate Challenge.

Push for renewables vexes Western power supplier

By Keriann Conroy, Perspective, High Country News

Colorado’s largest member-owned generation and transmission provider may be in trouble.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides wholesale electricity to rural
cooperatives in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska, is facing increasing pressure to let go of some of its contracts and to improve its renewable portfolio. But it appears unable to change fast enough to keep up with the times.

Most of Tri-State’s power is generated from coal- and gas-fired plants or large hydroelectric dams, but it is now facing regulatory hassles and the potential exodus of customers. Rural
“distribution” cooperatives are currently waiting to see how much it would cost them to exit their contracts, while Colorado moves toward regulations requiring more renewables.
Read more here.

Photo Credit: Missy Kennedy/Flickr

Keriann Conroy is a graduate student at Western Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado, studying democratic practices and sustainability.

Previously Posted News Stories & RMI Report

Also of Potential Interest

Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc, Salesforce and Workday Close All-New Renewable Energy Aggregation Deal

Bloomberg News Release

Excerpt: This group of companies, coming together as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project. The unprecedented coordination between five international businesses lays the groundwork for other corporates to procure renewable energy cooperatively, maximizing value and reducing risk. Read more here.

Flickr Photo

MORE ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY AGGREGATION 

LevelTen Energy YouTube Video: Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Case Study

 This is the first example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy demand to collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), collectively acting as the anchor tenant for a large offsite renewable energy project.

RENEWABLE ENERGY BUYERS ALLIANCE

The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) is led by four major nonprofit organizations that have brought together their expertise in transforming energy markets.

Collectively, REBA works with more than 100 large buyers that represent enormous demand for renewable power. REBA’s goal is to help corporations purchase 60GW of renewable energy in the US by 2025.

REBA Initiatives

U.S. Renewable Energy Map – Click image to link to it. 

Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Continues to Break Records in 2018

Rocky Mountain Institute News Release

Corporate renewable energy procurement has set a new single-year record for new capacity of announced wind and solar deals in 2018, the Business Renewables Center (BRC), a membership program at Rocky Mountain Institute, reported in its updated corporate-backed renewable energy procurement deal tracker.

“The record number of companies successfully pursuing renewable energy this year sends a clear signal that environmental sustainability is a serious priority for business leaders across the economy,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “These companies aren’t going to wait for public policy on climate issues to catch up—they are taking the initiative to
accelerate toward a prosperous, low carbon economy.” Read more here.

RMI REPORT
RMI offers playbook to support non-wires projects, American Public Power Association

IN NEBRASKA / THE MIDWEST

One for the Books: The Biggest Corporate Renewable Deals of 2018,
Energy Manager Today. Facebook: The BRC found that the social media giant signed 20 renewable contracts totaling 1,894.5 MW in 2018, which tops all the corporate deals the BRC tracked in 2016 put together. Those deals included a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power North America in March for energy from Enel’s planned 320 MW
Rattlesnake Creek wind farm in Nebraska.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Wind and Solar Are Revitalizing Rural America, by Grant Smith, Senior Energy Policy Advisor, Environmental Working Group
The St Louis Post-Dispatch reports that solar companies are streaming into Illinois and partnering with farmers to lease some of their land for solar projects. But this is not happening only in Illinois. Across the nation, wind and solar investments are revitalizing rural economies, providing a boost to the ups and downs of farm income.

INTERVIEW

Not for lack of ideas: an interview with NREL’s Dr, Peter Green, PV Magazine
In this interview pv magazine talks with the chief research officer at the United States’ foremost clean energy laboratory about the work that NREL has been doing, and what to expect for the
future of electricity and transportation.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN E-BOOK


Climate Change: Planet Under Pressure
, by Scientific American Editors  $5.99

From increasingly severe storms to collapsing coral reefs to the displacement of Syrian citizens, in this eBook we examine the effects of Earth’s changing climate on weather systems, ecosystems and human habitability and what this means for our future.

Cheapest AND Cleanest: Renewables Are Winning

By Nathanael Greene, Natural Resources Defense Council

When President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House 40 years ago, renewable energy resources were a niche technology both expensive and quirky. Well, as Carter’s buddy Bob Dylan would say, “The times they are a changin’.”

Solar and wind energy are beating dirty fossil fuels and nuclear power in the marketplace. They are winning not because they are clean and necessary to combat carbon pollution, but because they are less expensive for power producers, companies and customers. As 2018 closes, it’s now safe to say that clean renewable energy is at an inflection point. Cost is no longer the biggest challenge to greater adoption of wind and solar; it is now the rules of the power markets that often keep the cheapest options from winning. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

IN NEBRASKA

Lincoln Journal Star Letter: Farmers produce energy, too
By Matt Gregory, Clean Energy Advocate, Nebraska Wildlife Federation. Last year, Nebraska farmers collected nearly $4 million in lease payments to place wind turbines on their land. And that’s not to mention the indirect benefits of wind farms paying millions to counties and school districts, helping to lessen everyone’s property tax burden.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ALSO IN THE NEWS


NREL REPORT

U.S. utilities test distributed energy management, PV Magazine

Distributed energy management systems can capture added value from solar and storage by shaving peak loads, providing grid services, and deferring grid investments. Utilities testing such systems have shared their lessons learned, while Western Australia leapfrogs ahead.

Download Report: Expanding PV Value: Lessons Learned from Utility-led Distributed Energy Resource Aggregation in the United States (PDF)

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

Tri-State policy change discourages battery projects in rural Colorado and New Mexico, Clean Cooperative

United Power will dedicate the largest battery storage system in Colorado next week, a 16 megawatt hour Tesla Powerpack in Longmont that the electric cooperative expects will save its members $1 million each year. But recent policy changes by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, United Power’s wholesale power supplier, aim to discourage other cooperatives from pursuing similar projects, creating uncertainty for the deployment of battery projects in much of rural Colorado and New Mexico. United Power shifted its focus to battery projects last year, after the co-op reached the 5% limit on local renewable energy generation imposed by Tri State.

Colorado adopts rule to include storage in utility planning, Utility Dive
State regulators and lawmakers have focused on energy storage in 2018 as the governor signed a measure on consumer-installed storage and the PUC approved an Xcel Colorado plan to retire 660 MW of coal in favor of storage and solar.

NATIONAL SURVEY

Midterm Voters Want Action On Clean Energy Policy, Cres Forum Polling

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum and the Conservative Energy Network recently released national post-election survey results finding strong support among Republicans and Democrats alike for government action to accelerate development and use of clean energy in the United States.

NEW NON-WIRES SOLUTIONS GUIDE


Rocky Mountain Institute’s Non-Wires Solutions Implementation Playbook: A Practical Guide for Regulators, Utilities, and Developers delineates innovative approaches to spur Non-Wires Solutions (NWS) adoption and recommends planning and operational strategies to improve NWS processes.

Colorado co-op vote sets table for defection from coal power wholesaler

By Mark Olaide, Energy News Network

A Colorado electric cooperative could strike the latest blow against a regional power wholesaler facing complaints that it has moved too slowly in its transition to renewable energy. The Delta-Montrose Electric Association will vote in October on rule changes that would allow another power supplier to help finance its exit from a contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission. The association is among Tri-State’s largest customers, and its defection could heighten the risk of a mass exodus as others are forced to cover a larger share of costs for operating the wholesaler’s infrastructure, including its coal-fired power plants. Read more here.

Map: Tri-State’s 43 co-op members include 6 in Nebraska.


The Rocky Mountain Institute recently released a report:
A Low-Cost Energy Future for Western Cooperatives, which concluded that transitioning to new solar and wind generation could save Tri-State members $600 million by 2030. In 2017 coal accounted for about half of Tri-State’s generation, according to the report.


ALSO PUBLISHED BY ENERGY NEWS NETWORK
Q&A: Report outlines cost of continued reliance on coal, by Allen Best

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES & PUERTO RICO

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

TRANSMISSION ENERGY-LOSS & NEW TOOLS TO REDUCE IT & SAVE CUSTOMERS’ MONEY

Better realtime loss analysis tells utilities where solar, storage DER make sense, by Dan Garvey,
Contributor, Electric Power & Light

Consumers who flip on lights and power up the ever-growing number of devices in their living rooms are receiving electricity from a grid that has to generate two Watts of electricity for every one Watt delivered.  Put another way, the Department of Energy estimates that more than 60 percent of the electricity generated is lost before it is consumed in our homes. Other estimates claim even larger losses.

According to the EIA, distribution system losses alone account for over $19 billion in the U.S. annually, in real physical losses and Unaccounted for Energy (UFE), the costs of which are passed on to all customers. In addition to the economic cost of such inefficiency, the negative environmental impact is substantial. We must do better. And with new tools available, now we can.

Q&A: Report outlines cost of continued reliance on coal

By Allen Best, Energy News Network

Rural ratepayers in the Rocky Mountain region will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for electricity if their wholesale supplier fails to take advantage of low-cost renewable energy opportunities, according to a new report released today.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission supplies power to 43 member electrical co-operatives in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Together, the co-ops have a million customers, which in the co-op setup are also members. Continue reading here.

Rocky Mountain Institute Report: A Low-Cost Energy Future For Western Cooperatives: Emerging Opportunities For Cooperative Electric Utilities To Pursue Clean Energy At A Cost Savings To Their Members

Photo: The Laramie River Station near Wheatland, Wyoming. Tri State Generation owns a share of the facility.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Territory 

 


Nebraska

CR Chimney Rock Public Power District, Bayard
MW The Midwest Electric Cooperative Corporation, Grant
NW Northwest Rural Public Power District, Hay Springs
PH Panhandle Rural Electric Membership Association, Alliance
RS Roosevelt Public Power District, Scottsbluff
WB Wheat Belt Public Power District, Sidney

Rocky Mountain Institute Releases Carbon-Free City Handbook

RMI Press Release

The Carbon-Free City Handbook is a resource for city leaders around the world to take real and meaningful action toward their commitments with 22 ready-to-implement, no-regrets solutions that have proven success. Each recommendation draws off the work of more than 50 city leaders and sustainability directors and is a meaningful action that almost any city can pursue and apply locally, seeing results within a year. Ideas are nearly universally applicable for cities with a population of 100,000+ with compelling economics.

Actions are organized into five chapters, covering key areas for impact:

  1. Buildings, which contribute an average of 48 percent to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in large cities
  2. Transportation and mobility, which account for an average of 36 percent of GHG emissions in large cities
  3. Electricity, which accounts for 25 percent of urban GHG emissions from all sectors
  4. Industry, which accounts for an average of 7 percent of GHG emissions in large cities, and often much more
  5. Biological resources, which can contribute to reduction in waste and account for 7 percent of GHG emissions on average in large cities while providing new carbon sink opportunities

Read the entire press release here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
PV Magazine:
Rocky Mountain Institute issues guide for greener cities
The “Carbon-Free Handbook” can serve as a useful template for localities planning or actively engaged in large-scale solar and related initiatives like the Sierra Club’s “Ready For 100 and the U.S. Department of Energy’s “SolSmart programs.

It’s time for solar, wind and energy storage to jointly campaign for 100% renewables by 2050

Opinion by Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza  PV Magazine

Solar, wind and energy storage industry communicators and advocates, it’s time for us to jointly and individually state a very public goal of attaining 100% renewable energy in the United States by 2050. Read the entire opinion here.

Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is senior strategy adviser for Kiterocket’s renewable energy practice and a communications consultant for other solar and renewables brands.

ALSO POSTED BY PV MAGAZINE
Staying below 2 degrees is “possible and practical” says RMI