Feel Good About Your Electricity
In 2017, Cape Light Compact become a green aggregation. This means that the Compact, through its supplier NextEra® Energy Services Massachusetts LLC, (NextEra Energy Services) is matching 100% of Compact customers' annual electricity usage with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), in addition to investing in new renewable energy resources through the EarthEra™ Renewable Energy Trust.
What is Green Aggregation?
Green aggregations are municipal aggregations that make an affirmative decision to meet more than the required amount (under the MA Renewable Portfolio Standard) of their aggregated electricity usage with renewable energy, usually though the purchase of additional Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). This "greener" power supply option becomes the default option for customers participating in the aggregated supply. There are several municipal aggregations in Massachusetts offering high renewable content products, notably the Town of Dedham and City of Melrose, among others. Becoming a green aggregation utilizes the vehicle of municipal aggregation to achieve renewable energy purchasing at scale, which makes a tangible impact on accelerating renewable energy development by creating more demand for renewable energy.
How is the Compact becoming a Green Aggregator?
- The Compact has directed NextEra Energy Services to procure an additional 1% of RPS-qualified MA Class 1 RECs on an annual basis. When aggregated across the combined usage of all of the Compact’s customers, this represents a significant number of RECs. Since the RPS requirement for Class 1 RECs increases year-over-year, there is built-in growing demand, for which new projects must be built in order to produce the RECs required to meet the growing demand. By taking an extra 1% of those RECs off of the market every year above the already-growing requirement, Compact customers are creating an additional incentive for new renewable projects to be developed.
- In addition to exceeding the procurement requirement for RPS-qualified RECs as described above, the Compact has also directed NextEra Energy Services to purchase enough EarthEraTM RECs to make all Compact customers’ load 100% renewable or more, and to deposit those funds in to the EarthEraTM Renewable Energy Trust, which is a fund established by EarthEra, LLC an affiliate of NextEra Energy Services for the purpose of developing renewable energy projects in the United States. Funds from the Trust, which is administered by an independent third party, can only be used for new renewable energy projects. NextEra Energy Services has made a commitment to direct those funds to projects in New England to the extent possible.
- NextEra Energy Services has also made a commitment to direct its own funds into the Trust in addition to those proceeds from the sale of the EarthEra RECs, which leverages the Trust contributions of Compact customers.
- The source of the funds deposited into the EarthEra Trust includes: 1) All of the revenue from the sale of the EarthEra RECs that NextEra Energy Services will use to match 100% of the Compact's customers' usage; and 2) All of the NextEra Energy Service's contracted supplier fees (for avoidance of doubt, there are no additional fees that are being charged to supply this service). These funds, deposited into the EarthEra Trust, are guaranteed to be dedicated to the development of new renewable energy projects.
The result is that customers who participate in the Compact's green aggregation power supply program will be purchasing renewable energy, creating an increased demand for renewable energy projects, and directly funding the construction of new renewable energy projects through the EarthEra Trust.
Learn More About Renewable Electricity and Cape Light Compact's REC Sources
Renewable energy is energy that is generated by resources that are naturally replenished on a relatively short timescale, including wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, etc. In order for electricity to be considered "renewable," it must be matched with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
A REC is a tradable commodity that represents the clean energy attributes of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh), or 1,000 kilowatt-hours 9kWh) of electricity generated by a renewable energy resource (e.g., a solar farm).
Watch the short video below from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for a simple explanation of renewable electricity and the role of RECs.
Where does Cape Light Compact purchase RECs for its green aggregation?
The Compact, through its supplier NextEra Energy Services, will be acquiring both RPS-qualified RECs from New England Sources and EarthEra™ RECs from sources in the U.S. outside of New England. The Compact is requiring NextEra Energy Services to purchase an additional 1% MA Class 1 RECs over the RPS requirement, and also meet 100% of the Compact customers' load with EarthEra RECs.
The RPS-qualified RECs will include MA Class 1 RECs from local sources; 7 rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems located on Cape Cod, and the Greater New Bedford Landfill Gas Utilization Project in North Dartmouth, MA. The local solar PV systems were installed in 2010 through the Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative, a local electric cooperative that has helped municipalities across Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard install 28 megawatts of solar PV to date. The Greater New Bedford Landfill Gas Utilization Project (at the Crapo Hill Landfill) collects and burns gas released by landfill waste to create energy. This landfill gas, which contains methane and carbon dioxide, would otherwise be released in to the atmosphere. Instead, it is utilized daily to generate 3.4 megawatts of electricity, enough to light about 3,500 homes per day.
In addition to procuring 1% more than the required amount of RPS-qualified RECs as described above, NextEra Energy Services will be allocating voluntary EarthEra RECs from renewable projects outside of New England to meet 100% of the Compact’s electric load. By way of example, if the RPS requires that 27% of retail electric sales be met with RPS-qualified RECs, NextEra Energy Services will meet 28% of Compact customers’ retail electric sales with RPS-qualified RECs, and will then also procure 100% of retail electric sales’ worth of EarthEra RECs, bringing the total renewable energy content to 128% of retail sales.
For more information about RECs, please see our green aggregation FAQs.