Utility Dive: A Renewable Energy Mutual Fund? Starbucks Charts New Path with 146 MW Procurement

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Utility Dive: A Renewable Energy Mutual Fund? Starbucks Charts New Path with 146 MW Procurement

June 06, 2019

Utility Dive covered the renewable energy portfolio that LevelTen Energy created for Starbucks, and what makes the deal unique. Below are excerpts from the article:

Three separate projects from distinct developers were aggregated through software and analytics company LevelTen Energy’s “Marketplace” platform, enabling the retailer to purchase a portfolio of renewables​ in geographically diverse areas. Starbucks now directly sources renewable energy from North Carolina, Washington, Texas and Illinois, which powers 1,400 stores across the country, Patrick Leonard, energy manager at Starbucks told Utility Dive in an email.

The portfolio allows a company with a very distributed load to procure power in the communities they are operating in, which was important to Starbucks, according to LevelTen CEO and founder Bryce Smith. LevelTen compared the new portfolio model to a mutual fund — minimizing risk by diversifying renewables investments.

Tech giants are increasingly making large renewables purchases to serve the outsized energy needs of their data centers through carbon-free means. However, LevelTen sees interest from companies in every sector in building a portfolio of renewable investments, Smith said.

Starbucks is just the beginning of what he anticipates will be customers seeking to draw power from multiple assets, as they’re not large enough to buy all the power from a single project, like tech giants and their data centers.

“You have hundreds of companies that use a lot of electricity, like Starbucks, and they’re nowhere near the load that Microsoft has, but it’s a significant load,” Smith said. “We have a lot of customers seeking this kind of portfolio because it’s really akin to the mutual fund… Their intention is to purchase new renewables in an economically responsible way, and that really means diversification.”

…”By creating a portfolio that comprises projects in multiple markets, you not only get projects closer to where their customers are, you get geographic diversification and wholesale market diversification,” and a blend of renewable technology, Bryce said.

…LevelTen, founded in 2016, raised $20.5 million in Series B funding on Monday, to expand its renewable energy procurement platform in North America and Europe, expanding access to new types of renewable energy customers beyond “a select group of Fortune 500 buyers.”

To read the full article, visit UtilityDive.com.