Oriden helps Blue Ridge Energy reduce carbon emissions and stabilize rates with utility-scale solar project – Caldwell Journal
LENOIR, North Carolina (April 6, 2021) – Blue Ridge Energy, a member-owned power co-op serving northwestern North Carolina, has selected Oriden LLC to develop a large-scale solar project as part of its Brighter Future initiative. This project will provide a source of local generation and allow Blue Ridge Energy to work towards its low-cost, low-carbon future with two important carbon reduction goals: achieving 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050.
- More than 19,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity will be produced each year
- The project will help control wholesale electricity costs to keep tariffs stable for members of the electric cooperative
Blue Ridge Energy CEO Doug Johnson said, “To meet our sustainability goals while meeting our commitments to reliability and affordability, we are focusing our efforts on areas that make the power grid more flexible, efficient, resilient and able to support new energy solutions and the vitality of our communities. We look forward to implementing Oriden’s custom-designed large-scale solar solution, which we named Brighter Future Solar, to help us achieve our goals.
The Brighter Future Solar project will provide substantial additional carbon-free electricity to Blue Ridge Energy. The large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project will cover 50 to 55 acres in southern Caldwell County and provide 11 megawatts of electricity, enough for 1,600 homes. By comparison, Blue Ridge Energy’s five existing community solar gardens cover about four acres combined and produce enough electricity for 75 homes.
Scheduled to go live this year, the Brighter Future Solar project will generate and send 19,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity into the grid each year. Blue Ridge Energy will purchase all of the project’s output under a 25-year fully bundled power purchase agreement. This will help control wholesale electricity costs in order to keep prices stable for cooperative members. In the future, the project can help the cooperative provide alternative pricing options for the benefit of members and help manage peaks in electricity demand.
Three companies are supporting the Brighter Future Solar project:
- Oriden leads development and financing, while overseeing all decisions relating to project permits, site due diligence, engineering and major equipment. Oriden is a full-service renewable energy developer funded and supported by Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., an industry leader in power generation, renewable energy and energy storage solutions.
- United renewable energy™ LLC provides advanced stage development, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) support services using local management and workforce in North Carolina. URE develops, designs, builds and maintains solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems for utilities, industrial and commercial enterprises, independent power producers and member electricity cooperatives.
- Pisgah Energy supported local community engagement and permitting efforts. The company provides comprehensive solar and energy storage design and development services in the South East.
Michael Berlin, Director of Energy Development at Oriden, said: “Blue Ridge Energy’s investment in solar energy demonstrates great leadership and ensures that the energy production needs of its members are met in a manner that is sustainable and affordable. Oriden values the Blue Ridge Energy partnership and will perform with a focus on exceptional quality as it brings Northwest North Carolina a Power change. “