Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Receives Smart Energy Decisions 2020 Innovation Award

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Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group Receives Smart Energy Decisions 2020 Innovation Award

July 16, 2020

The Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, which comprises Bloomberg LP, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce, and Workday, has again been recognized for the groundbreaking renewable energy deal it entered into with help from LevelTen Energy. Smart Energy Decisions has awarded the Group a Customer Project Award as part of its annual Innovation Awards, which recognize “exemplary use and implementation of innovative technologies and progressive practices among large electric power users (customers), their suppliers and utilities that reflect new approaches to energy procurement and management.”

An Innovative Approach to Renewable Energy Procurement

In its 2020 Innovation Awards Insight Report, Smart Energy Decisions described why the Group was chosen: “Working with LevelTen, the five corporate buyers teamed up to collectively act as the anchor tenant for a 100-megawatt solar project based in North Carolina. The five companies, under the name Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, inverted the traditional process of renewables procurement and benefitted from a reduced cost by creating one larger deal. By purchasing between 5 and 10 megawatts of solar power each to aggregate a total of 42.5 megawatts, the buyer group relies on this shared solar to offset energy consumed in their business operations nationally and contributes to a cleaner energy grid locally.”

LevelTen played a pivotal role in the creation and execution of this model. First, we gathered vital data on each company’s renewable energy needs, and then we compared those preferences to every project in the LevelTen Marketplace. Once the group selected a project, LevelTen guided the parties through contract negotiations, helping each company execute a virtual power purchase agreement.

The model serves as a blueprint for other corporations that want to purchase smaller amounts of renewable energy while retaining the economic benefits of a large power purchase agreement. As the judges noted in the Awards Insight Report, “The challenge for growth in the renewable PPA markets: once the big buyers who can swing their own solo deal—or function as ‘lead sled dog’ with a few smaller plates on for the ride—are gone, how do we keep the corporate momentum going? This deal may have established a replicable model to help address that issue.”

There’s More Than One Way to Aggregate

In this model, each of the companies gathered together first, and then looked for a project that would meet their needs. But the LevelTen Marketplace also makes it possible for companies to purchase smaller slices of a project, without knowledge of the other off-takers. In this scenario, they are essentially aggregating without knowing it. This type of aggregation is only possible with an online platform; LevelTen knows what each seller is offering in terms of how many megawatts per hour, at what price, and under what terms, and we can use our sophisticated analytics engine to compare all the options and match our clients with a project that will meet their goals. 

This “digital aggregation” not only enables midsize buyers to enter the market, it also enables companies that need a lot of renewable energy to purchase many slices of many different projects, creating a portfolio that diversifies risk. This is the approach that Starbucks took when it used the LevelTen platform to create a portfolio of three different power purchase agreements last year.

Additional Industry Recognition

We’re honored to have played a role in helping these trailblazing companies achieve their renewable energy targets, and we’re delighted to see the industry recognize this innovative deal. In addition to receiving this Innovation Award, the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group was named a “World Changing Idea” by Fast Company, and it received a Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Partnership.