Foley Hoag Forges Major Wind Power Purchase on Behalf of Boston University

September 18, 2018

Foley Hoag LLP recently assisted client Boston University in a transaction for the procurement of wind power under a power purchase agreement (PPA). This purchase represents a major step in BU’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) to curb greenhouse gas emissions. 

“It is admirable to see Boston University taking an initiative on clean energy as one of Boston’s thought leaders on climate action,” said Foley Hoag counsel Adam Wade, a member of the firm’s Energy & Cleantech practice group who represented BU in negotiations of the PPA. “We’ve seen large businesses start to make the shift, and it’s great to see higher education joining the trend. Agreements such as these clearly demonstrate the fiscal and social advantages of making renewable energy part of an organization’s operations. We are pleased to be able to support BU in its commitment to combat climate change.”  

BU will enter into its agreement with a South Dakota wind farm under development by an affiliate of global energy company ENGIE. The project will begin construction in the spring and once completed, will offset the use of higher-carbon intensity energy that predominates in the power mix consumed in that area. By purchasing the power, the University will receive renewable energy certificates to apply against its own carbon emissions in Boston. Such credits, along with increasing energy efficiency, renewable sources and the ongoing greening of the New England power grid, are a key strategy in BU’s CAP, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero on BU’s two campuses by 2040. 

Boston University president Robert A. Brown announced the PPA with wind developer ENGIE Generation North America on September 18, 2018 at a forum with 50 of Boston’s largest building-space owners. Many of the owners, BU among them, have committed to mitigating their contributions to climate change. 

“BU will buy 205,000 megawatt hours of electricity from ENGIE annually during the contract, an amount equivalent to the University’s total electricity usage,” said Dennis Carlberg, BU’s sustainability director. “Buying power outside its New England back yard gives BU added punch against climate change, because the central US’ power grid is far more reliant on fossil fuels than New England’s. The University’s wind PPA will provide essential financing for the South Dakota wind farm, which in turn will boost that region’s store of cleaner energy.”

Under the CAP, the University will spend $141 million over 10 years on capital improvements to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. As part of its contract with ENGIE, BU will receive educational and research opportunities for faculty and students. Those include two ENGIE summer internships for academically high-performing students. ENGIE also will arrange an annual tour of the wind farm for students, faculty and staff.

Foley Hoag attorneys Wade and Erica Harrington represented BU in the transaction with ENGIE.

For more on Boston University’s Climate Action Plan, click here