Electrify America–backed 75MW photo voltaic farm kicks off operations

Electrify America, the EV charging firm created by Volkswagen within the aftermath of its diesel emissions scandal, mentioned on Tuesday {that a} new, 75 megawatt photo voltaic farm in Southern California is now up and operating.

Electrify America isn’t working this photo voltaic farm. As a substitute, the corporate struck a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with renewable vitality developer Terra-Gen. It’s the newest growth in Electrify America’s efforts to hyperlink itself to renewable vitality tasks. The companies broke ground on the plant again in February.

Your typical VPPA includes a purchaser, which pays a set worth for no matter vitality is generated, and a vendor, which generates the vitality and sells it by way of the grid for the client at market charges. The client assumes some danger, as a result of the vendor would possibly wind up promoting the vitality under the fastened fee. But, the client may additionally see the upside if market costs development above the fastened fee.

In different phrases: Electrify America is taking up some danger with this deal, and in change it will get to say it’s serving to clear up the grid whereas probably benefiting from rising vitality costs.

Renewable vitality builders play an important position in decarbonizing the grid, however simply how far do VPPAs go in mitigating local weather change? This appears to be an open query. Even Electrify America’s press launch leaves some wiggle room on this entrance: “This model new building contributes to ‘additionality,’ by producing new renewable vitality that might not in any other case be obtainable,” the corporate mentioned in a press release (emphasis ours).

Would possibly one other purchaser have stepped in if Electrify America hadn’t? Like every offset-related deal, it’s troublesome to say whether or not the settlement is facilitating one thing that definitively wouldn’t have occurred in any other case. (If you’re conscious of any educational research on the environmental affect of VPPAs, please get in contact at [email protected].)

For its half, Electrify America states that the height vitality its funding will generate is “akin to the ability drawn by 500 EVs charging directly at a median velocity of 150 kilowatts.” The photo voltaic farm’s annual “manufacturing is projected at 225 Gigawatt-hours,” Electrify America provides. In an earlier press release, the agency claimed the end result of this deal might be “akin to the carbon sequestered by planting almost 40 million bushes.”