Beyond Renewables: Bright Solutions that Make Reaching Your Energy Goals a Breeze

Apr 24, 2017 8:50 AM ET

Originally posted on NRG Power Perspectives

Decision makers from business, industry and government today are seeking integrated energy solutions — solutions which assure both a secure and affordable energy supply to meet today's and tomorrow's needs, and effective management of energy and overall operational costs. At GlobalCon this week, we’re sharing how companies can meet these goals in an era where renewables seem to be the go-to solution for many.

The uptick in renewables deployment over the past few years has been well documented.  Large companies have often turned to on premise solar or offsite wind as their predominant choices to offset cost and meet their energy goals. In some regions of the country, large C&I customers have been able to take advantage of off-premise solutions like Community Solar which mitigate the need for costly self-funded installations.

Reading about Fortune 10 companies inking deals on these massive energy systems, and then thinking about the costs associated with installing one for your own business can be daunting. However you don’t have to be a Fortune 10 – or even a Fortune 1000 – company to realize the benefits that diverse, tailored energy systems can provide. In a world that extends far beyond renewables, let’s talk about a few options that make a cleaner, more sustainable and affordable energy future possible today for any business. 

Understand a PPA is just the start: We won’t debate the benefits of renewable energy. Solar and wind provide net-zero carbon emissions and provide for a fixed cost for budgeting purposes.  PPAs, or Power Purchase Agreements, are an agreement between commercial & industrial (C&I) buyers and renewable energy project developers that let customers lock in energy prices for up to 20 years.  Providing a long-term hedge against fluctuating energy prices, PPAs help customers swiftly meet their sustainability goals with on or off premise access to renewable energy.

Demand Response to Lower Use and Protect the Grid: Sometimes, less is more, like in the case of Demand Response (DR).  DR, or curtailment services allows customers to voluntarily commit to reducing electricity use in times when the electric grid is facing extreme conditions. Just as important is the way everyone benefits as this idea takes hold. For end-users, curtailing usage means receiving financial incentives. In other words, you get paid for using less during critical times. For utilities, having commitments in place from customers to use less energy during critical times lowers the potential for brownouts and provides an attractive alternative to constructing new power plants or investing in expensive capital improvements.

DR programs are unique in that they are truly flexible programs that are far removed from a one-size-fits-all approach and developed to fit individual situations. Furthermore, they are easy to implement and require a low lift from the customer to make a reality.  That’s why you’ll find Commercial & Retail Operations, Government Facilities, Educational Institutions, Industrial Facilities and large Hospitality and Entertainment customers all turning to DR as a way to not only ensure lower costs, but to increase energy reliability and resiliency for their own customers. 

Age is Just a Number: What would you say to the fact that one of the most sustainable, low-cost energy options available comes from a technology that is over 100 years old? District Energy systems – or Thermal, as they’re lovingly known – are holding their own in the era of storage and solar as a cost-effective and reliable solution for many customers. District Energy systems provide steam for space heating, domestic hot water, air conditioning and industrial processes. Our services also help customers with equipment repair, upgrade, expansion and maintenance, as well as preparing multiple-year energy budget forecasts.

NRG Yield maintains seven District Energy facilities in the U.S. In San Francisco, we’ve been supplying more than 37 million square feet of office space for customers like Bank of America, Hilton, City Hall and the Moscone Center – and that facility has been b helping customers be more sustainable for more than 100 years.

Most recently, we broke ground in Pittsburgh, PA on a new facility that will serve the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Mercy Hospital as an anchor customer.

And that’s just a sample of the solutions that exist to help customers reach their goals beyond renewables. In an age where technology is transforming energy from a commodity to a measurable, data-driven decision, we’re helping customers identify, understand and achieve their goals no matter their size, location or needs. You can learn more about a variety of these solutions by visiting our Business page at