On Tuesday, RBC announced it has entered into a formal partnership for a long-term renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement with Bullfrog Power and BluEarth Renewables.
The agreement is the first of its kind for a Canadian financial institution and will directly support the construction of two new utility-scale solar farms in the Forty Mile County in Alberta.
Scott Foster, SVP, Global Head of Corporate Real Estate at RBC said “This agreement, and our partnership with Bullfrog Power and BluEarth Renewables, will help support our clients and communities in the areas where we live and work with the low-carbon transition, while accelerating clean economic growth.”
Construction of the he two solar farms, a 19 MW and a 20 MW facility, is expected to create 300 new construction jobs and inject $70 million into the Alberta economy. The solar farms will provide about 80,000 MWh of renewable energy to Alberta’s general electricity grid annually. This is enough to power 6,400 homes in a year.
When completed, the installations will cover 300 acres, which is the size of 170 soccer fields, and will be two of Canada’s largest solar farms.
RBC and Bullfrog Power have been working together since 2005 when RBC became Bullfrog Power’s first major corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Since then, RBC has purchased nearly 200,000 MWh of renewable energy from Bullfrog Power.
In mid-2019, the two organizations formed a buyers’ partnership, which is an emerging strategy in corporate Power Purchase Agreements that allows companies to gain access to larger projects and benefit from economies of scale as well as share the costs of executing the agreements.
“Power purchase agreements are the most effective way to expand renewable energy in Canada,” said Sean Drygas, President of Bullfrog Power. “As we continue to advise our clients on signing their own PPAs, nothing shows our belief in their value more than signing our own.”
In 2014 RBC participated in a project-level financing to one of BluEarth’s projects and since then, RBC Capital Markets has acted as financial advisor to BluEarth on two acquisitions and also arranged and syndicated the bank financing to complete those acquisitions.
Grant Arnold, President and CEO of BluEarth Renewables said “BluEarth executed a term sheet for this power in 2019 and, despite COVID-19 and other market disruptions, pricing, terms and the schedule were maintained.” Arnold added “This partnership demonstrates that renewable energy can be cost-competitive in an open market and PPAs can facilitate green investment in the Alberta economy.”
RBC says power purchased from the solar farms will contribute directly to two key targets of the RBC Climate Blueprint: reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 70 per cent by 2025 and increase sourcing of renewable and non-emitting electricity to 100 per cent by 2025.