Leadership in Environmental Stewardship
Since 2005, the Alberta Schools Commodities Purchasing Consortium (the “CPC”) have undertaken a pilot power purchasing strategy to reduce exposure to volatile energy costs by fixing those costs through long-term power purchase contracting. This program has seen the CPC participating members band together to aggregate their energy consumption and to be proactive in dictating the terms of their energy contracting, rather than being singular and reactive to whatever the market is willing to offer. Volatile energy prices can quickly cause budgetary imbalances that necessitate the reduction of core services in order to keep budgets balanced. The aggregate contracting has already yielded the benefit of avoiding between $20 and $30 million in higher energy costs. Given the success of the program to date, Alberta’s school boards are now looking to expand this contracting strategy.
Wind power is the ideal source of energy to meet the needs of the CPC because it has no fuel-price risk (wind is free!), and therefore it has long-term cost predictability. The wind production cycle also aligns well with the CPC’s energy consumption (higher production/consumption during the day, and during the winter months).
The CPC ran a formal competitive process to select a wind development partner to pursue this strategy. Nine proposals were submitted, and seven companies from across North America were interviewed and evaluated against selection criteria. As a result of this detailed evaluation, BluEarth Renewables Inc. was selected as a partner to develop a project to meet the requirements of the CPC. BluEarth’s Bull Creek Wind Project lines up well with the expected power needs of the school boards, both in terms of the quantity of energy needed and the timing of delivery.
Partnering with BluEarth and procuring electricity from the Project allows the participating members of the CPC to demonstrate leadership in environmental stewardship and put their sustainable development and operation policies into action. At the same time, wind power enables school boards to take advantage of the long-term predictable cost of wind energy limiting exposure to price volatility.