Read original article at Rivian.
If we intend to achieve the climate goals set in the Paris Agreement, we need many more collaborations like the Paris Solar Farm in Tennessee.
Luke Wilkinson pulls up to a newly installed Rivian charger at Eiffel Tower Park in Paris, Tennessee, and plugs in his electric vehicle, a big smile stretching across his face.
Just down the road from where he stands, Rivian has invested in a new solar farm to power every kilowatt of Luke’s charge – and to generate enough clean energy to power every other Rivian charger in Tennessee and then some.
When he leaves fully charged, Luke will be able to make a nonstop, emission-free drive from the Sun Belt back home to Nashville, Music City, powered entirely by renewable energy from the sun.
Luke is the Senior Vice President of Project Development for Silicon Ranch, one of the largest independent power producers in the country and a fully integrated provider of customized renewable energy, carbon, and battery storage solutions for a diverse set of partners across North America, including the solar farm that is currently powering his charge.
“Powering their chargers with 100% renewable energy shows Rivian’s commitment to the EV revolution that we all agree needs to take place,” says Luke. “This particular charging site enabled me to explore a part of my home state that had previously been difficult to get to via an EV, ultimately saving me from buying a tank of gas.”
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 61% of our country’s electricity is still generated from burning fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas and other carbon-emitting sources.
While EV drivers greatly reduce their carbon footprint on the planet by leaving gas-powered vehicles behind, the electricity they use to power their charge often comes from a grid powered by fossil fuels.
“Customers are doing their part choosing zero-emission vehicles,” says Anisa Costa, Chief Sustainability Officer at Rivian. “We are eager to bring companies, utilities and governments together to fix the system that powers the vehicles. It’s a priority for us to accelerate this work.”
PATHWAY TO ZERO EMISSIONS
In 2016, the Paris Agreement set a warming limit of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius for our planet. Warming above this threshold could trigger catastrophic weather events, water shortages, famine and other environmental crises around the world.
Preventing global warming at those levels requires innovative approaches and profound levels of collaboration across economic sectors, government entities and industries to build rapid momentum.
We teamed up with fellow EV maker Polestar and research firm Kearney to create the Pathway Report, which identifies how the automotive industry is tracking against the warming limits of the Paris Agreement. The results were alarming. Without urgent action, the auto industry alone is on track to exceed the global warming limit by 75% in 2050.
Our report identified three main ways the industry can take action and get back on the road to sustainability: Accelerate EV adoption, decarbonize the grid and reduce supply chain emissions.
“Fixing the grid is a public works challenge for our generation, and one that no single entity can solve on its own,” Anisa says. “The partnerships we form and the urgency we place on solving this problem will determine whether the goals of the Paris Agreement can be met.”
At the Paris Solar Farm in Puryear, Tennessee, row after row of indigo-colored solar panels reflect the sun as it breaks through the clouds over the surrounding treescape.
The Paris Solar Farm project, the first of its kind in Henry County, represents an impactful partnership between the local utility-Paris BPU, Rivian, and carbon solutions platform Clearloop, a Silicon Ranch company, to bring more clean energy to the region. Rivian’s portion of the solar project investment will provide enough energy to power all our chargers in the state with 100% new, clean energy.
Since our very first vehicle delivery, every kilowatt hour from all Rivian chargers has been powered by renewable energy. As we continue to accelerate our clean energy efforts, we’re choosing to invest in areas where access to renewable energy is scarce, ultimately displacing a larger share of fossil fuels in the nation’s electricity grid.
Today in Tennessee, for example, solar energy accounts for only 0.4% of the grid. To compare, in California solar energy comprises 16% of the grid. As a result, one megawatt hour of electricity in Tennessee emits around 32% more carbon than a megawatt hour in Northern California.
Projects like the Paris Solar Farm not only provide greater access to clean energy, but they are also good for business, lowering the cost of renewables for all and delivering lower costs per megawatt. This is an essential step in displacing carbon-emitting fossil fuel power plants, says Andrew Peterman, Director of Renewable Energy at Rivian.
“Our approach not only protects our planet but enables greater and more affordable access to clean energy across the country,” Andrew says. “This is a key step to sustainably growing our business. We aim to drive the greatest system-wide impacts for communities, customers, and the environment.”
The Paris Solar Farm is just the beginning.
We’re continuing to work with city governments, utility companies and clean energy organizations across the country in a community-first approach to accelerate these efforts.
“I’m inspired by what we and the communities we’re working with aim to accomplish together in driving decarbonization of the grid,” Anisa says. “If we can scale and repeat local renewable energy successes like the Paris Solar Farm, it will have a multiplying effect on the clean energy that’s available to everyone, everywhere for decades to come.”
Read original article at Rivian.