CASE STUDY: Iron Mountain

The Challenge

Iron Mountain has made environmental stewardship a corporate priority, with stated objectives to know, share, and address its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Over the past few years, Iron Mountain has successfully implemented a number of projects to manage and reduce these emissions. In 2017, it wanted to build on this progress by sourcing green energy to meet a portion of its electric load in Texas.

The Solution

First, RPD Energy (formerly Renewable Power Direct, or RPD) worked with Iron Mountain to outline the key criteria for this green energy program:

  1. Physical renewable energy from a local Texas project
  2. Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) bundled with the generator’s energy
  3. Matching a load profile that varies peak and off-peak by month
  4. A competitive, yet flexible, pricing structure that would allow Iron Mountain to continue to benefit from historically low pricing

Second, RPD selected NextEra’s Blue Summit Wind Farm near Vernon, Texas, to supply renewable energy and concurrent Green-e Certified RECs.

Next, RPD worked with TrailStone, an energy trading company, to create a monthly index structure with an option to fix the contract price at any point over the contract term. In addition, this structure provided protection against hourly price spikes by locking in the monthly price at the end of the previous month, thereby reducing price exposure for Iron Mountain.

Finally, Direct Energy, Iron Mountain’s existing retail electric provider, ensured the total energy delivered to Iron Mountain was balanced to match its consumption. In addition, Direct Energy provided billing and settlement services. RPD also enlisted Tenaska Power Services, one of the largest independent energy companies in the U.S., to manage the wholesale scheduling and settlement for this transaction.

The Bottom Line

By using an innovative approach, applying creative risk management tools, and coordinating a multi-party industry team, RPD was able to provide Iron Mountain with a simple, market-based retail contract supplying local green energy to serve its load.

The unique structure developed by RPD creates an auditable, physical contract and scheduling path from a local wind generator to Iron Mountain’s facilities in Texas. The electricity supplied by Direct Energy is backed by physical wind energy as well as the concurrently generated, certified RECs from the Blue Summit Wind Farm.

Benefits

  • Iron Mountain receives only the amount of renewable energy it needs, avoiding the complexity, risk, and long-term commitment of a PPA
  • Iron Mountain is contractually linked through a wholesale transaction to a local wind project, yet is able to use the same simple retail contract used to buy brown power
  • Iron Mountain is advancing its overall sustainability objectives and reducing price risk
  • NextEra benefits from a new channel to access the corporate energy market

For information about how RPD Energy can help your company meet their sustainability goals on your terms, please contact us.