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Can “virtual power” drive cities towards climate goals?

Jul 03, 2018, 7:57 AM EDT
(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture/flickr)
(Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture/flickr)

Virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs), the contracts that a company or city will buy energy from a solar or wind farm, are gaining traction across the U.S. for two reasons – firstly, they, sort of, provide the much-needed capital for renewable projects to take off and secondly, they help the buyers offset their carbon emissions.

While this model offers certain benefits, it has a flipside as well, notes Scientific American. By striking deals with a distant renewable energy provider, a city misses the other direct benefits of green projects, for example, the jobs created by a similar facility in their own backyard.

As a climate strategy, VPPAs fail to impress the experts, who believe they offer buyers to offset emissions by renewable contracts instead of powering facilities directly with wind or solar.

 

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