Utilities, Commercial, Industrial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  June 8, 2016

Amazon touts new, innovative agreement with Dominion for renewable energy

Amid the push for utilities to better understand and serve their large commercial and industrial customers' renewable energy needs, Amazon Inc. has pointed to a new agreement with Dominion Virginia Power as step in the right direction. 

Amazon's cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, recently told the Rocky Mountain Institute that the new, first-of-its-kind "special rate agreement" with Dominion Resources Inc. utility subisidiary Dominion Virginia Power allows for greater flexibility for the wholesale market participation of AWS's investments in wind and solar projects. Dominion Virginia Power is the retail electric service provider for AWS's northern Virginia data centers. 

The agreement, which was approved by Virginia's State Corporation Commission in January and is now live, includes any future Amazon contracts for renewable energy projects, RMI explained in a June 3 blog post. 

"Our new contract with Dominion is yet another significant milestone that together with our various wind and solar projects, the many efficiency innovations in our data centers, and our advocacy efforts for renewable energy are helping to pave the way for AWS to meet our renewable energy goals for powering the AWS Cloud,” Jerry Hunter, vice president of infrastructure at Amazon Web Services said. "We also continue to innovate on programs with our power providers around the world to increase the use of renewable energy at lower costs. Dominion has been, and continues to be, a great partner in this effort.”

Under a separate agreement, according to RMI, AWS will also now pay a market-based retail rate that closely matches the wholesale market rates its renewable energy projects earn. RMI wrote:

[Dominion Virginia Power] wants to work with Amazon to provide more choices and accommodate its renewable energy goals and requirements. This arrangement provides AWS with  a "one stop shop" to complement AWS's traditional electricity management with wholesale and renewable energy purchases. 

A related proposal that would offer market-based rates to other qualifying Dominion Virginia Power customers with ambitious renewable energy goals is under review by the state commission, according to RMI. If approved, the group says it could "dramatically change the way that corporations enable large-scale renewable energy projects in Virginia, allowing them to work with their utilities to tailor solutions to the companies’ unique energy needs on the regional grid."

Amazon Web Services has been one of the leading corporate buyers of renewable energy generation in recent rankings, and has emerged as an advocate for accelerated corporate adoption of renewable energy sources through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, whose mission has emerged in two parts: One, to help grow corporate demand for renewable power; and two, to help utilities and other power companies meet that demand.

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