Friday, December 08, 2017

BART approves renewable energy purchase agreement

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BART approves renewable energy purchase agreement BART

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors approved two 20-year renewable energy power purchase agreements Dec. 7 in an effort to improve the climate footprint of the Bay Area's transportation sector.



This step follows BART's adoption of an aggressive Wholesale Electricity Portfolio Policy in April 2017, the transit system noted. The policy calls on BART to procure at least half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.

"These agreements will ensure the district gets a majority of its electricity supply from clean, renewable and competitively-priced sources through at least 2040," said BART Board President Rebecca Saltzman. "Wind and solar energy will take center stage in BART's long-term electricity supply."

One of the two approved agreements calls for NextEra Energy Resources to build a new 61.7 megawatt (MW) wind energy project. The second calls for Recurrent Energy to build a new 45 MW solar energy project.

Both projects will be located in Kern County, Calif., and are set to launch by Jan. 1, 2021.

BART currently gets 4 percent of its electricity supply from renewable sources, the company said, but that amount is expected to increase dramatically with the implementation of the two new agreements.

Renewable energy will account for about 90 percent of the district's electricity portfolio beginning in 2021, when the two approved projects begin delivery, officials said.

The new renewable energy agreements are set to facilitate about 75 percent of BART's electricity needs beginning in 2025 and for the remainder of the 20-year terms, BART said.

"These agreements demonstrate BART's commitment to being a climate-forward transportation agency and establish the agency as a national leader when it comes to utilizing renewable energy," said BART District 8 Director Nick Josefowitz.

BART also said the new agreements would not be possible without California Senate Bill 502, which was approved by the state legislature in 2015, because the bill allows BART to directly procure renewable energy sources.

"BART received a robust set of competitive bids in response to the Request for Proposals that was issued in May 2017," said BART Sustainability Director Holly Gordon. "The price per kWh (kilowatt hour) that BART will pay when the projects begin operating in 2021 is lower than what BART currently pays for energy. That low price will be locked in for 20 years, resulting in significant cost savings for BART over the long term."

BART also said it aims to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. The company currently uses about 400,000 MWh (megawatt hours) of electricity per year—slightly more than the electricity needs of the city of Alameda, Calif., which making BART one of the largest users in Northern California.