The wind PPA addresses three key challenges: (1) GHG emissions, (2) volatility in energy markets, and (3) long-term increasing costs of carbon and fossil fuels.
To meet its GHG reduction and renewable energy goals, DGS will need to aggressively expand efficiency solutions and the use of clean energy. DGS implemented a PPA to directly source wind power and advance the regional market for renewable energy. The PPA also reduces DGS’ vulnerability to volatile energy prices by locking in a 20-year electricity rate that is ~30% less than the current cost of electricity from fossil fuels.
As the largest purchase of wind energy by a U.S. city to date, and the first city without a municipal utility to enter into a long-term wind PPA, DGS' PPA is charting a path for other municipalities to follow. DGS has created a blueprint for municipalities that want to meet their GHG and renewable energy goals, and has spurred additional investment in the renewable energy market by investing in wind energy as a scalable long-term solution.
The District government's wind PPA is reducing GHG emissions associated with its power supply by 100,000 tons of carbon per year, or roughly 17% of government-wide GHG emissions. The environmental attributes are bundled with the power and DC is retiring the renewable energy credits as they are produced. This action is also adding over 125,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy and 46 megawatts of capacity to the regional electricity grid each year, displacing electricity that is otherwise sourced primarily from carbon-intensive fossil fuels.
The wind farm supporting this PPA was built in the suitable location of South Chestnut, Pennsylvania, where it supported 100 clean energy jobs during construction, plus maintains six to seven permanent positions. The manufacturer of the turbines is also located in the state, further driving regional economic development. In terms of developing clean energy within the District itself, DGS is currently negotiating two solar PPAs that seek to build 12.5 megawatts of capacity on fifty properties owned by the District government.
This PPA is also avoiding the emission of other air pollutants including soot, smog, and mercury that are harmful both to the environment and human health. Introducing wind into the grid generation mix pushes out dirty fossil fuels responsible for these pollutants.
The District is an active participant in C40 and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, and intends to share the lessons learned throughout the process of developing the PPA with the relevant networks. The District also collaborates with neighboring cities through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and has participated in several regional workshops and meetings related to renewable energy purchasing strategies.
(Photo Credit: Iberdrola Renewables)