Sharing the Load: Aggregating Renewable Energy Purchases with Others

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Webinar Recording and Presentation Materials are available in the Campus Sustainability Hub

untitled_0_0.png The idea of pooling resources to increase bargaining power is not new. But it is being newly applied to renewable energy purchases. Now, no matter the size or location of your institution, you can harness the benefits of a large-scale renewable energy solution.

Technology cost reductions and favorable market economics make large-scale renewable energy an increasingly compelling choice for higher education institutions to make step-change improvements in their greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint while also reducing long-term cost and risk of electricity procurement.

This webinar will feature MIT’s recent large-scale renewable energy procurement, which is part of an aggregated purchase with two other buyers in Boston. MIT pursued this innovative procurement strategy to reap the benefits of economies from scale of renewable energy, and to pioneer an innovative partnership model for climate change mitigation. MIT formed an alliance – convened by the local membership organization A Better City – with Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation to buy electricity from a new 60 MW solar farm in North Carolina. Called Summit Farms it is the largest renewable-energy project ever built in the U.S. through such an alliance, delivering power into the grid by mid-February. CustomerFirst Renewables, the leading advisory firm in facilitating renewable energy aggregations in the U.S., supported the procurement as technical advisor. The project demonstrates an innovative partnership model for other organizations to follow in climate change mitigation efforts, reducing electricity spending and mitigating energy price risk.


  1. Understand the opportunity to team up with other organizations for an aggregated large-scale renewable energy procurement, allowing your institution to achieve step-change improvements in electricity cost reduction, price risk mitigation, and carbon emission reduction
  2. Get insights from higher education leaders who are excited about sharing lessons learned from their renewables aggregation project during case a study presentation as well as audience Q&A.

Julie Newman, Director, Office of Sustainability and Lecturer, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning
newman.jpgJulie joined MIT as the Institute’s first Director of Sustainability in the summer of 2013. She also holds a lecturer position with the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning. She has worked in the field of sustainable development and campus sustainability for twenty years. Her research has focused on the intersection between decision-making processes and organizational behaviour in institutionalizing sustainability into higher education. In 2004, Julie became the founding Director of the Office of Sustainability for Yale University. At Yale, she held a lecturer appointment with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she taught an undergraduate course entitled – Sustainability: From theory to practice in institutions.

Joe Higgins PE, Director, Infrastructure Business Operations, MIT Department of Facilities
higgins.jpg Joe leads the newly-formed Infrastructure Business Operations team that is integral to MIT’s campus planning, construction, and operations and sustainability initiatives. The team is focused on enhancing infrastructure related processes including finance and accounting, vendor management, procurement, contracts, facilities information technology, communications and customer engagement. Prior to joining MIT, he spent more than 20 years at prominent institutions in higher education, financial services, and research, developing infrastructure experience through positions in campus planning, design, engineering, construction, operations, risk management, and environmental sustainability. A registered professional engineer, Joe holds a BS in Engineering and a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and a Master of Science from the University of Oxford.

Terence de Pentheny O’Kelly, Engagement Manager, CustomerFirst Renewables
okelly.jpg Terence de Pentheny O’Kelly is an Engagement Manager and leads CFR’s team support throughout customer engagements. Terence has nearly 10 years of experience in the energy industry in project development across renewable and traditional energy technologies, including origination, procurement, permitting, financing, negotiation and implementation. Previously, Terence was VP of Development for a private energy investment firm with responsibilities for sourcing and developing power projects in North and Central America.