Join or die: How utilities are coping with 100% renewable energy goals

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“Many utilities are responding cooperatively to cities’ 100% renewables commitments. They are offering green pricing programs, community renewable energy programs and bilateral contracts through green tariffs.

“They see that those who partner are going to have a bright future and those that resist are going to find themselves with a shrinking customer base,” Van Horn said.

Where utilities don’t cooperate, cities are taking control. They are subscribing as anchors in independently-developed solar projects, helping large corporate customers obtain power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewables and supporting the emergence of CCAs.

Through a CCA, “the city essentially becomes the utility, buys power wholesale, and uses the utility’s wires to deliver that energy,” Van Horn said. Where CCAs are not feasible, cities are exploring other alternatives, including direct off-take agreements or “establishing a municipally run power company.””

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