The first-ever Peace Renewable Energy Credit (P-REC) transaction has been executed by Microsoft with Energy Peace Partners (EPP) and project developer Nuru. In the agreement, Microsoft is purchasing P-RECs issued by EPP from 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 of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. 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, transportation decarbonization, and climate solutions specialist 3Degrees.
P-RECs are international renewable energy certificates (I-RECs) with a supplementary label from issuer EPP certifying the co-benefits associated with the new renewable energy generation. P-REC projects are located 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 agreement with Nuru requires that the majority of funds from the sale of P-RECs support a project that creates social and economic co-benefits in that community. Microsoft is the first company to execute a P-REC transaction.
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 improved nighttime road safety and neighborhood security, allowing businesses to stay open later at night, and 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, Energy Peace Partners. “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. Energy Peace Partners is proud of this groundbreaking collaboration with Microsoft, 3Degrees and Nuru.”
“We applaud Microsoft’s innovative approach to its renewable energy and community development goals, and their willingness to lead with this inaugural purchase of P-RECs,” said Steve McDougal, CEO, 3Degrees. “This unique transaction unlocks a new energy attribute option that other organizations can now leverage to drive renewable projects in underserved communities around the globe. It’s been an honor for 3Degrees to partner with these three pioneering organizations to help bring this first-of-its-kind project to life.”
“Nuru is thrilled to be working with Microsoft, Energy Peace Partners, and 3Degrees to launch the P-REC in eastern DRC,” said Jonathan Shaw, Co-Founder and CEO, Nuru. “This bold, forward-thinking commitment is exactly what is required to unlock the human potential of complex, challenging contexts like eastern Congo. Thousands will benefit from this initiative, and we could not have asked for more committed and innovative partners throughout the process.”
“With P-RECs, companies like Microsoft 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,” said Vanessa Miler, Director, Energy Innovation and Impact, Microsoft. “Companies can maximize the impact of their investments not only from a carbon reduction perspective but also from a climate equity perspective.”