Oriden Helps Blue Ridge Energy Reduce Carbon Emissions and Stabilize Rates with Utility-Scale Solar Project

Last Updated on April 6, 2021 2:01 pm

Blue Ridge Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative serving northwest North Carolina, has selected Oriden LLC to develop a utility-scale solar project as part of its Brighter Future initiative. This project will provide a local generation source and allow Blue Ridge Energy to work towards their low cost, low carbon future with two significant carbon reduction targets: to achieve 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Blue Ridge Energy’s CEO, Doug Johnson, said, “To meet our sustainability goals while upholding our commitments to reliability and affordability, we are focusing our efforts on areas that make the electric grid more flexible, efficient, resilient, and capable of supporting new energy solutions and the vitality of our communities. We look forward to implementing Oriden’s custom-designed large-scale solar solution, which we have named Brighter Future Solar, to help meet our goals.”

The Brighter Future Solar project will provide substantial additional carbon-free electricity to Blue Ridge Energy. The utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project will cover 50 to 55 acres in southern Caldwell County and will provide 11 megawatts of power — enough for 1,600 homes. By comparison, Blue Ridge Energy’s five existing community solar gardens cover about four acres combined and produce enough power for 75 homes.

Scheduled to come online this year, the Brighter Future Solar project will generate and send 19,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity into the grid annually. Blue Ridge Energy will purchase the full output of the project through a 25-year fully bundled Power Purchase Agreement. This will help control wholesale power costs to keep rates stable for cooperative members. In the future, the project can help the cooperative provide alternative rate options to benefit the membership and help manage peak power demands for electricity.

Three companies are supporting the Brighter Future Solar project:

  • Oriden is leading the development and financing, while overseeing all project permitting, site diligence, engineering, and major equipment decisions. Oriden is a full-service renewable energy developer funded and backed by Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., an industry leader in power generation, renewables and energy storage solutions.
  • United Renewable Energy™ LLC is providing late stage development support, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services using local North Carolina based management and labor. URE develops, designs, builds and maintains solar photovoltaic and energy storage systems for utilities, industrial and commercial companies, independent power producers, and electrical membership co-operatives.
  • Pisgah Energy supported local community engagement and permitting efforts. The company provides comprehensive solar and energy storage design and development services across the Southeast.

Michael Berlin, Director of Energy Development at Oriden, said, “Blue Ridge Energy’s investment in solar shows great leadership and ensures its members’ energy generation needs are met sustainably and affordably. Oriden appreciates Blue Ridge Energy’s partnership and will execute with a focus on exceptional quality as it brings northwestern North Carolina a Change in Power.”

Sitemap for Blue Ridge Energy’s Brighter Future Solar project being developed by Oriden, a venture of Mitsubishi Power Americas. The utility-scale project will cover approximately 50 to 55 acres in southern Caldwell County, N.C., and will provide 11 megawatts of power. It will generate and send 19,000 megawatt hours of carbon-free electricity into the grid annually. (Image courtesy Oriden)

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