BART - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Finance, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  December 14, 2017

Bay Area Transit System signs 100 MW of PPAs

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system, known as BART, recently executed two power purchase agreements for electricity that will propel the fifth-largest rapid transit system in the U.S. far beyond its goal of getting 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. 

The sustainability group at BART, which serves San Francisco and its surrounding communities, had conducted a request for proposals for renewable energy following its adoption of its Wholesale Electricity Portfolio Policy in April. The two, 20-year renewable energy PPAs selected will dramatically change the makeup of BART's generation portfolio from about 4% to about 90%. 

The larger of the two agreements was signed with NextEra Energy Resources for capacity from a new, 62-MW wind energy facility, clean energy news site CleanTechnica reported Dec. 11. The other, for capacity from a 45-MW solar project, is with Recurrent Energy. To be located in Kern County, Calif., both projects are expected to be online by Jan. 1, 2021. 

As BART's energy needs increase, the new renewable energy agreements will provide about 75% of BART's electricity needs beginning in 2025 and for the remainder of the 20-year terms, according to a Dec. 7 news release. The agreements are also expected to lower the system's energy costs. 

BART worked with clean energy services 3Degrees to develop and manage the solicitation process, evaluating bids from more than 30 project developers. 3Degrees was also responsible for significant quantitative analysis and qualitative project and supplier assessment, allowing the team to identify those projects that provided both the best value and the best fit for BART's unique energy needs. 

"The price per kilowatt hour that BART will pay when the projects begin operating in 2021 is lower than what BART currently pays for energy," CleanTechnica quoted Holly Gordon, director of sustainability for BART, as saying. "That low price will be locked in for 20 years, resulting in significant cost savings for BART over the long term."

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