How LevelTen is helping John Hopkins reduce emissions

Zach Starsia tells us how LevelTen is helping the prestigious Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation move to renewable energy

LevelTen  Energy, a US-based startup that enables organisations to purchase renewable energy, recently announced it was working with the Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation in Baltimore to help the organisation tackle its carbon emissions. 

In the agreement with developer Energix, the Baltimore-based teaching hospital and  research facility will source 13 megawatts of solar energy through an agreement facilitated by LevelTen. We asked Zach Starsia, Director of Transactions at LevelTen Energy, to give us more details.  

LevelTen is a renewable transaction infrastructure provider. What does this mean? 
LevelTen Energy’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean energy by making it faster and easier to buy, sell and build renewable energy. Our company was founded by industry veterans who realised that renewable energy deals took too long to complete.

For example, companies that wanted renewable energy had a hard time finding the right contract for their budget and electricity needs. Developers constructing new solar and wind farms couldn’t get the financing they needed to build quickly enough. What this meant was that the renewable energy economy was moving too slowly in the race against climate change. 

So LevelTen built technology that speeds up renewable energy deals, essentially acting as renewable transaction infrastructure. This includes the world’s largest online marketplace for renewable energy, and software tools that make it simple to find and secure the best renewable energy contracts. 

What are the challenges of moving to renewable energy?
One of the most common ways that organisations transition to renewable energy is by securing what’s called a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is essentially an energy contract. 
These are long-term agreements that last from 10-20 years on average, so energy buyers need to think carefully about which contract is right for them. This is a big challenge because they need to consider the location of the wind or solar project, how the price of energy will fluctuate over a long period of time, and the risks posed by events like extreme weather. 

It can get pretty complex and technical, and many organisations just don’t have the staff or expertise to dig in. That’s why LevelTen exists. We’re making clean energy more accessible, and simplifying power purchase agreements is a big component of what we do. 

Our software makes more than 1 billion calculations every day to help energy buyers understand which power purchase agreement is best for them - meeting their clean electricity needs, at a price they can afford, while keeping risk at a minimum. 

What specific challenges do healthcare organisations face? 
The healthcare sector emits a substantial amount of carbon dioxide each year. It contributes about 10% of the annual CO2 emissions in the US. As our healthcare system expands to accommodate our growing population, so too will its environmental footprint. There is no greater threat to public health than climate change, so healthcare organisations have a unique mandate to protect public health through clinical service as well as through reducing their impact on the planet.  

What does this deal mean in terms of reaching President Biden’s 2030 carbon reduction goal?
To meet 2030's carbon reduction goal, every industry needs to be brought along on the clean energy transition. Traditionally, technology companies are among the largest consumers of electricity and lead the way forward. Now, companies in other industries with smaller energy demands are beginning to embrace clean energy too.

Demand for renewable energy has gotten so much more diverse in the past few years. We’ve helped a wide range of organisations, including Starbucks, Lululemon, and Salesforce to obtain power purchase agreements. The Johns Hopkins Health System’s latest power purchase agreement shows that the healthcare industry can also transition to clean energy. They are creating a path for others to follow in their footsteps. 


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