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EarthTalk: B2B Energy Markets Help Offset Emissions

Dear EarthTalk: What are some innovative ways companies are accessing renewable energy nowadays?—Peter V., Milwaukee, WI


With energy production accounting for upwards of 75 percent of global greenhouse emissions and more and more companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints, it makes sense that a whole new generation of start-ups would spring to life to help put business customers together with green energy producers.

One of these innovative green go-betweens is Copenhagen-based Reel Energy. Businesses looking to slash their carbon footprints can call upon Reel to provide them with green power at fixed, low prices for five to 10 years. Reel, in turn, uses this funding to contract with solar and wind developers to break ground on new renewable energy projects. Reel has expanded heavily throughout Europe in recent years but you can expect to see their deals pop up increasingly in the U.S. and elsewhere moving forward.

Another take on B2B green energy sourcing comes by way of Seattle-based Drift Energy, which helps companies buy 100 percent green power and thus offset their other carbon emissions. Customers sign on the dotted line to purchase all of the energy they will need for one to five years, and Drift gets to work supplying them with green power culled from local wind farms, solar arrays and hydroelectric dams. By helping take the guesswork out of sourcing green power, Drift is able to help other businesses do the right thing and derive emissions reduction and PR benefits in the process.

Meanwhile, Clearloop out of Nashville, Tennessee takes a similar approach by syncing up companies looking to reduce their carbon footprints with new sources of green energy. But Clearloop’s version emphasizes environmental justice, using customer funding to break ground on solar arrays in traditionally disenfranchised and overly polluted communities across the American South. To date, Clearloop has funded solar projects in Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Yet another green energy matchmaker model is LevelTen Energy, also from Seattle, which runs the world’s largest platform connecting green power buyers and sellers. LevelTen’s marketplace allows buyers to compare different options, receive custom offers and reduce risks through automated analytics for market price offers. By lowering the risk of investment and widening access to green energy, LevelTen streamlines the process of purchasing renewable energy. To date, LevelTen’s transaction infrastructure has helped broker some 4,500 renewables-based power purchase agreements (PPAs) funding more than 1,800 wind, solar and other renewable power projects in 28 different countries.

Still another way for companies to procure green power at fixed pricing and reduce their carbon footprints is by going in on group buys of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through Evergreen Renewables. RECs represent proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source. A recent deal orchestrated by Evergreen and transacted on its marketplace saw eight brands go in together on the purchase of enough RECs to fund the repowering of a 55-megawatt wind farm in Texas that was otherwise slated for demolition. These types of deals enable even smaller companies to participate in large group buys of RECs, further expanding access to green energy.

EarthTalk® is produced by Roddy Scheer & Doug Moss for the 501(c)3 nonprofit EarthTalk. See more at https://emagazine.com. To donate, visit https://earthtalk.org. Send questions to: question@earthtalk.org.


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