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Projects Updates for Wind Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

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  1. News Release - Wind PPA signed

    Associated Project(s): 

    CHAMPAIGN, IL –  A 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between Prairieland Energy, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the University of Illinois, and Rail Splitter Wind Farm LLC, a subsidiary of EDP Renewables (EDPR) North America LLC, will significantly increase the amount of renewable energy used by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

    For 10 years, through October 2026, the Urbana campus will receive a percentage-based portion of the wind-generated electricity and associated environmental attributes from the Rail Splitter Wind Farm located north of Lincoln, Illinois. The PPA specifies that 8.6% of the total wind generation from the farm will be sold to the university, which is expected to be an annual amount of more than 25,000 megawatt-hours (MWh).

    This acquisition of wind power — in conjunction with energy generation from the utility-scale 20.8 acre Solar Farm (7,863 MWh/year) brought online last December, and other solar installations on campus — raises the amount of Urbana campus clean energy to approximately 33,200 MWh/year, or 8.9% percent of projected FY17 annual electricity consumption.

    Director of Utilities & Energy Services Kent Reifsteck said, “Obtaining wind power on this scale is a tremendous next step in diversifying and optimizing the university’s energy portfolio to meet future campus demand for more than 54,000 students, faculty, and staff. This long-term contract for low-carbon energy produced in Illinois reinforces the university’s commitment to achieving sustainability goals and developing partnerships for statewide economic development.”

    Since the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard was passed in 2007, EDPR has invested more than $1.5 billion in new Illinois wind farms. EDPR is the largest owner of wind energy in the state with an operating fleet of the Rail Splitter Wind Farm, the Top Crop I & II Wind Farms, and the Twin Groves I & II Wind Farms.

    “The PPA with the University of Illinois marks a new path forward for college campuses to play an important role in building a clean energy future,” Tommy Greer, EDPR Director of Energy & REC Sales, said. “We are excited to partner with the campus on a long-term agreement to produce clean, renewable energy in Illinois. This is the first time we have signed a long-term PPA with a university, and we are eager to see other academic institutions follow Illinois’ lead.”

    The Rail Splitter Wind Farm began commercial operation in 2009 with 100.5 MW of installed capacity, which can power roughly 35,000 average U.S. households. The farm’s annual environmental benefits are equivalent to taking more than 45,000 cars off the road.

    The Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP), the Urbana campus’ strategic sustainability plan, contains specific clean energy targets, including an objective to obtain at least 120,000 MWh per year from low-carbon sources by FY20.

    The idea of signing a wind PPA was supported by a formal recommendation from the Energy Generation, Purchasing, and Distribution (EGEN) Sustainability Working Advisory Team (SWATeam). These SWATeams, created by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), are charged with tracking progress on the iCAP targets and making recommendations to advance campus sustainability goals.

    The new Provost Fellow for Sustainability, Physics Professor Scott Willenbrock, was previously the chair of the EGEN SWATeam and led the development of the wind PPA recommendation. “It was a natural recommendation to make, but we did not appreciate at the time how nuanced the PPA would be. Many people worked hard to make this a reality,” Willenbrock said.

    Pursuing additional renewable energy projects and power purchase agreements to achieve clean energy targets was one of the recommendations of the Utilities Production and Distribution Master Plan released in September 2015.

    The university is proactively shaping its energy enterprise through improved utility production, distribution, and monitoring methods and systems. Through dedicated energy conservation programs, such as Retrocommissioning, Energy Performance Contracting, campus-wide lighting retrofits, and building system upgrades, the campus has reduced energy consumption by 28% since 2008.

    The university’s good work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions has allowed the Urbana campus to sell approximately $1.5 million in verified carbon credits since 2014 to fund additional emission reduction and energy conservation projects.

    Wind PPA Factsheet
    Wind PPA news release


  2. archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    The campus is investigating options for a Wind Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).  There are various potential energy providers, and the costs of such power is currently unknown.  Therefore, the UI is starting with a Request for Information (RFI) which will give campus decision makers an idea of the cost of the wind energy.  Once the information is received, the UI may elect to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), which would be the first step toward signing a Wind PPA.

  3. EGEN SWATeam Meeting notes (10.12.16)

    The EGEN SWATeam held their third meeting for the Fall 2016 semester. Topics covered include:

    • Development of formal SWATeam recommendatino to the working group regarding offsets for Petascale
    • RECs - does this get us to our goal?
    • Potential recommendations for rooftop solar
  4. iWG meeting agenda March 30, 2016

  5. iWG meeting meeting March 30, 2016

  6. Jul 9 2015 Minutes

    see file

    Several SWATeam recommendations were discussed.  Also, an update from the Sustainability Council was provided:

    "Review of Council Meeting/Status of iCAP Approval - The Sustainability Council meeting went very well with lots of good discussion. There were not too many serious objections to the iCAP. They would like to see financial information, such as cost-benefit analysis on projects. This information will be included in the study for accelerating our carbon neutrality date. The cover letter from the Chancellor affirming our commitment will include language about the current fiscal climate in Illinois. The Chancellor was keen to be able to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. Other concerns were in regard to the net zero space item and they suggested a space audit be included in the iCAP."

  7. October 30 meeting

    iCAP Working Group Thursday, October 30, 2014 358 NSRC, 1:30 - 3:00 pm

    1. Discussion with Kent Reifsteck, Director of Utilities & Energy Services Division, regarding campus energy and the Wind PPA
    2. Unmet targets from 2010 iCAP
    3. Overview of iCAP Forum and SWAT Team Recommendations
    4. Discussion of timeline for completing 2015 iCAP
    5. Other business


    Attached Files: 
  8. iWG follow up letter

    Dear Al,

    Attached please find a reply from the iCAP Working Group regarding the wind PPA process.

    By the way, thanks so much for your participation in iSEE's Roundtable this week...sorry we didn't get a chance to chat!




    Professor Benjamin J. McCall

    Associate Director for Campus Sustainability Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


  9. iWG agenda packet

  10. F&S response to iWG assessment

    This letter is in response to the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP) Working Group (iWG) recommendation #EG001, which Facilities & Services (F&S) received on August 28.  F&S agrees that the campus should investigate the feasibility of entering into a Wind Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to increase the use of renewable energy for campus. 

    Regarding the EG001 general statements about campus energy use, data points, and assessments of anticipated financial impacts, F&S will need more time to compile a useful response.  Regarding the three specific EG001 recommendations, I have consulted with Al Stratman, Kent Reifsteck, and Mike Larson to provide the responses below. 

    1. Recommendation: “The campus should undertake a Power Purchase Agreement for wind energy. Based on currently available information, we recommend that the amount be at least 119 million kWh per year (25% of our total electrical usage), but we should aim to purchase as much as we possibly can, given any technical, financial, and contractual constraints.”

    From this recommendation, we understand that the iWG recommends entering into a Wind PPA for at least 25% of the FY15 electrical demand.  However, the campus cannot make an informed decision about whether or not to undertake a PPA until the financial impact is fully understood.  A key component of the financial impact is the fully burdened cost of the purchased wind power, which will not be known until after the successful completion of the Request for Proposal (RFP) process.  Therefore, F&S does support pursuing a PPA so the feasibility can be evaluated, but we do not support making a final decision to undertake a PPA until completely evaluating the financial implications.

    1. Recommendation: “The effort to secure a PPA should be pursued as quickly as possible. The campus should inform PEI that this is a top priority, and that the review of RFI submittals and the issuance of the RFP should be expedited by all necessary means.”

    During this summer, F&S worked with PEI to define a schedule for issuing a Request for Information (RFI) and a subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP).  This schedule shows a completion date of April 2015, so that the PPA could commence with delivery of power on July 1, 2015, at the start of FY16.  We have informed PEI that this is a top priority, along with safety and reliability of the overall campus energy system.

    1. Recommendation: “The iCAP Working Group should be kept informed and advised during the process of pursuing the RFI, RFP, and PPA, and given the opportunity to provide recommendations before key decisions are made about the PPA, to ensure that technical and financial considerations are appropriately balanced with our campus sustainability objectives.”

    F&S values the advice and input from sustainability advocates on campus.  Therefore, we suggest developing a set of interim checkpoints for keeping the iWG informed as the process unfolds.

    To meet our Climate Commitment and achieve carbon neutrality, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.  I look forward to working with the iWG and the SWATeams as this recommendation is pursued.


    Morgan B. Johnston

    Associate Director of Sustainability, F&S

  11. Updated RFP schedule from PEI

    Associated Project(s): 

    I am providing an updated schedule for the RFP related to a wind-power PPA for UIUC.  The change reflects a request by one vendor to extend the response period by one week.  Because of that, we have made other slight modifications to target dates for some of the milestones, but the original completion date of April 30, 2015 is maintained.

    If you have any question, please let me know.  Dan Mortland

    Attached Files: 
  12. revised schedule

    Associated Project(s): 


    I understand the deadline for submitting the RFI was extended until September 5 based on the requests from some vendors for more time to prepare their responses.

    UA / PEI will be forwarding more info and will be looking to keep the overall schedule from being extended.



  13. EGen001 Wind PPA recommendation - Assessment with all comments

    The iCAP Working Group (iWG) met on August 28th, 2014, to discuss the EGen001 Wind PPA recommendation, and they started the assessment for this recommendation. 

    See the attached file for complete assessment with comments from all the iWG members.

    See SWATeam recommendation EGen001 Wind PPA here.