Recent years have seen enormous demand for renewables to enter the grid and for power purchase agreements (PPAs) to make use of them. However, on top of the already tricky state of supply chains, geopolitical unrest and grid congestion heightening the risk of curtailment along with “revenue cannibalization,” the PPA market has proven increasingly volatile.
According to Zurich-based consultancy Pexapark, approximately 400 MW of PPAs were closed in Europe in March 2022, representing a sharp contraction in the market from February, when 1.3 GW of PPAs were contracted. The war in Ukraine is having repercussions on PPA prices and Europe could see very complicated electricity price curves in the remainder of the year, the analyst explained.
Prasun Chaudhury, director of data solutions at LevelTen Energy, told pv magazine that “instant access to fresh data is even more critical in today's volatile energy market, which has been changing rapidly over the past two years.” Chaudhury noted rises in renewable PPA price offers of 30% in North America and 47% in Europe.
That access PPA price data has long been a challenge.
“Price offers are only shared directly between buyers and sellers,” another LevelTen spokesperson said. “And often as a product of weeks-long FRP processes that can result in outdated prices by the time they are completed. Without access to data from a centralized marketplace, clean energy buyers, sellers, investors and analysts struggled to get the data they needed for benchmarking, modeling and analysis.”
A cursory look at some of the platform's features shows data on everything from price offers, capacity sizes, projected settlement values and status updates across North America and Europe. The data can also be examined for particular contract details, such as operation dates, contract tenor, shape, escalator, non-settlement thresholds, and market price floors.
The data itself is taken from the LevelTen's online PPA marketplace, in which the company boasts 90% of renewable energy developers in North America and more than 60% of developers in Europe take part. As an example of the kind of PPA deals the market is currently seeing, Chaudhury points to a deal between Constellation and US media and technology giant Comcast. The 250 MW deal represents a 15-year PPA with Scout Clean Energy's Blue Sky solar project in northern Illinois.
The market may be in a volatile phase, and solar PPA prices may have risen for the past two years, but the demand for solar PPAs remains strong. In the last six months, LevelTen's Energy Marketplace has seen organizations seek to procure clean energy PPAs for around 6 TWh, a figure which rises to 75 TWh over the life of the PPAs.
As developers hustle to catch up with demand, Chaudhury says the MarketPulse platform can deliver “greater transparency” to the PPA market while empowering “energy sellers to price their PPAs more effectively, buyers to quickly compare and benchmark price offers, and investors to conduct thorough due diligence and inform financial models.”
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