LevelTen receives series B funding; arranges 146-MW PPA for Starbucks

Two announcements this week highlight growing interest in corporate renewable energy procurement.

Seattle, WA-based LevelTen Energy helps corporate buyers of renewable energy find and purchase energy from solar and wind projects within North America through its procurement platform. The company says its solution reduces the cost, complexity, and risk of renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs), by incorporating analytics, aggregation, and process best practices.

This week the company announced that it received Series B funding from a large group of investors and that it helped Starbucks secure a 146-MW PPA from three different renewable energy projects.

On the funding side, LevelTen announced a $20.5 million Series B funding round led by Prelude Ventures, with participation from Constellation Technology Ventures, the venture investing arm of Exelon Corporation, Equinor Energy Ventures, Total Ventures and participants from LevelTen’s Series A funding, including Avista Development, Element 8 Fund, Founders’ Co-op, Techstars Ventures and Wireframe Ventures. This latest round of funding brings the company’s total investment to $27.3 million. As part of the financing, Tim Woodward, managing director at Prelude Ventures, will join LevelTen Energy’s board of directors.

LevelTen said is plans to use the funds for new headcount, product development, and international expansion.

On that heels of that announcement, LevelTen said that it helped Starbucks close on a three-project renewable energy portfolio, comprising wind and solar farms in North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas from developers ALLETE Clean Energy, Apex Clean Energy, BayWa r.e. and Cypress Creek Renewables.

The portfolio, custom-built for Starbucks using LevelTen Energy’s technology-enabled procurement platform, aggregates three strategically-located power purchase agreements (PPAs), each with nearly-identical terms, from three distinct project developers. This portfolio transaction, in which a corporate buyer simultaneously procures a fraction of the power generated by multiple new projects, is unprecedented, said the company.

 The portfolio model – much like a mutual fund – minimizes risk and allows buyers to capture the scale pricing benefits of the country’s largest, most economically attractive projects, according to LevelTen. The geographical and technological diversification inherent in a portfolio also better complements’ Starbucks’ energy footprint and strategy.

“The Starbucks portfolio PPA demonstrates the promise of new renewable energy purchasing models,” said Bryce Smith, founder and CEO of LevelTen Energy. “Starbucks is setting an important precedent in the corporate energy procurement space by demonstrating how a single off-taker can safely and easily procure shares of renewable energy from a variety new wind and solar projects. This approach enables many more corporate and institutional buyers to support, in a fiscally responsible way, the massive buildout of new clean energy projects across the globe.”

The power will be used to in grids that serve more than 3,000 U.S. Starbucks stores and communities by 2021, when all three projects are online, according to LevelTen.

To-date, Fortune 500 companies have procured more than $1 billion dollars of renewable energy through the LevelTen Energy platform. LevelTen also facilitated a groundbreaking aggregated procurement deal with Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday. 

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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com

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