Oriden Helps Blue Ridge Energy Reduce Carbon Emissions and Stabilize Rates with Utility-Scale Solar Project
LENOIR, N.C. (April 6, 2021) – 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.”
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Blue Ridge Energy
About Oriden LLC
Located in Pittsburgh, Oriden develops, constructs, finances, owns and operates renewable energy projects throughout the United States. As local governments, public institutions and corporations prioritize cleaner sources for their energy needs, they want a developer with the ingenuity, the agility and the speed of a start-up — a fearless pioneer. But they also want to mitigate risk with a proven veteran that has the financial strength and experience to develop, commercialize, operate and own a highly complex project. Oriden is venture funded and backed by Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc., which has more than a century of experience manufacturing, servicing and providing power and energy solutions globally. For more information, visit the Oriden website and the Mitsubishi Power Americas website.
About Blue Ridge Energy
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 77,000 members in northwest North Carolina. The cooperative is committed to powering a Brighter Future for its members and communities by adding sustainable, renewable energy, using innovative technology for a reliable, resilient power grid and enriching the lives of the people it serves. For more information, visit BlueRidgeEnergy.com.