The first-ever Peace Renewable Energy Credit (P-REC) transaction has been executed by Microsoft with Energy Peace Partners (EPP) and project developer Nuru. P-REC’s are international renewable energy certificates with a supplementary label from issuer EPP certifying that there are co-benefits associated with the new renewable energy generation. These benefits include being in countries that are characterized by high risk of conflict, high vulnerability to climate change, low levels of electrification and limited access to renewable energy finance.
The new agreement has Microsoft purchasing P-RECs from EPP is for a new solar project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which will directly finance the installation of streetlights in a recently electrified neighborhood in Goma. The streetlights are connected to the same solar-plus-storage system which generates the electricity associated with the P-RECs. The transaction was facilitated by renewable energy specialist 3Degrees.
The transaction unlocks a new renewable energy attribute option that other organizations can now leverage to drive renewable projects in underserved communities around the globe, Microsoft says.
The P-RECs purchased by Microsoft will be issued by EPP from Congolese solar developer Nuru’s newly commissioned 1.3 MW commercial solar-plus-storage project in Goma’s Ndosho neighborhood. Goma is located in conflict-affected eastern DRC, where only 3% of residents have access to electricity in many neighborhoods. Microsoft’s P-REC purchase allowed Nuru to fund the construction of mini-grid-connected streetlights in Ndosho, a community impact project co-designed with local stakeholders. Installation of the streetlights was completed earlier this year and has already reduced reliance on diesel generators, which are both expensive and highly polluting, in an area that has never had grid infrastructure.
“We developed the P-REC in order to support new renewable energy projects in fragile, energy poor regions of the world,” said David Mozersky, president of EPP. “With this inaugural P-REC purchase, Microsoft is demonstrating that corporate renewable energy procurement can be high impact by making a difference in communities like Ndosho, where increased access to sustainable and affordable power will be transformative.”
With P-RECs, companies that are looking to procure renewable energy can invest in regions that are the most impacted by climate change and that are currently deprived of access to modern energy, says Vanessa Miler director of energy innovation and impact with Microsoft. “Companies can maximize the impact of their investments not only from a carbon reduction perspective but also from a climate equity perspective.”