GOA, India, 20 July 2023 – In the framework of the fourteenth session of the Clean Energy Ministerial, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), UN-Energy, and Global Renewables Alliance, co-hosted a side event titled ‘Towards a 24/7 Carbon Free Energy Future.’
In a world grappling with climate change and an escalating global energy crisis, the urgency to transition towards carbon free energy sources has never been more evident. Research across Princeton University¹ and more have determined how employing hourly matching can effectively accelerate the implementation of reliable, advanced, and clean energy sources across the system, for buyers and sellers alike. Under this umbrella, the side event presented the benefits of hourly matching of clean energy supply and demand and discussed a proposed new CEM workstream 24/7 CFE and the establishment of a Global Coalition for high impact corporate sourcing.
“²The 24/7 contract approach can support the deployment of clean energy that really matches consumption, supporting the needs of the system overall.” Says Prof. Dr. Tom Brown, Head of the Department of Digital Transformation in Energy Systems at TU Berlin.
Ms. Julia Souder, CEO of Long Duration Energy Storage Council and Chair of the Global Renewables Alliance, set the tone for the event by stressing the importance of decarbonization in achieving SDG 7. She introduced Global Renewables Alliance, a coalition of six leading renewable energy associations working towards the common goal of delivering 24/7 Carbon-free Energy. Ms. Souder highlighted the need for long-term clean power purchase agreements and innovative strategies to reduce emissions. Storage technologies were also emphasized, with a target of developing 8 terawatts of storage capacity to ensure continuous operation during periods of limited renewable energy generation.
“There is no doubt that we are in an energy crisis, which is not just an energy crisis but one that has severe knock-on effects deepening the cost-of-living crisis, the food crisis, the climate crisis. It is necessary to democratize the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy movement and campaign to reach all economies.” Kanika Chawla, Director, and Chief of Staff, SEforALL
Ms. Kanika Chawla, Director, and Chief of Staff, Sustainable Energy for All, highlighted the energy crisis and its impact on the cost of living which is also triggered by the cost of energy, similar to the food and climate crisis.
She stressed the need to democratize the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy movement and make it a demand-driven initiative to reduce costs and bring affordability to the clean energy movement. The process is not solely about meeting business demand, but also ensuring energy security and reliability for sustainable solutions.
Mr. Bruce Douglas, CEO of Global Renewables Alliance explained the essential requirement for a balanced approach to energy sources, considering both their economic and ecological impact.
“100% renewable energy matching on an annual basis is not necessarily 100% carbon free. Hourly matching can help eliminate carbon emissions, increase accuracy of carbon accounting, incentivise storage and flexibility whilst providing better price hedging for corporates”. Mr. Bruce Douglus, CEO, Global Renewables Alliance
As society faces mounting pressure to address climate change, the transition to renewable energies has become a key priority and an accurate carbon accounting and ESG should be properly implemented.
Dr. Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary, Dept of Energy, USA, highlighted the significance of the transition to a carbon-free energy future in her keynote speech, focusing on government action. She mentioned President Joe Biden’s executive order, which calls for a comprehensive approach to achieving 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy, with a commitment to sourcing 50% of federal electricity from carbon-free sources by 2030.
Ms. Jennifer Layke’s comments shed light on the critical importance of data sharing and collaboration to allow for more informed decision-making and effective implementation of renewable energy solutions. She further acknowledged the growing recognition of the energy transition’s public importance by large corporations.
“Firstly, enabling a granular approach for corporations to access data from utilities to plan and deliver a long-term strategy. Effective data sharing and collaboration are essential to accelerate the transition. Secondly, providing access to a wide range of renewable technologies with third-party support to navigate the integration process. Lastly, recognizing the wider socio-economic impact of 24/7 CFE and strategizing with a clear geographical understanding to ensure public importance by large corporations”.
Mr. A.K. Saxena, Senior Director, TERI, emphasized the critical role of storage in achieving 24/7 carbon-free energy. He highlighted four storage technologies, including pump storage, concentrated solar thermal storage, battery energy storage, and hydrogen storage. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of adopting energy storage at all levels of energy generation, transmission, and distribution. Building strong grid interconnections with neighboring countries also emerged as a key aspect of ensuring 24/7 CFE on a regional level.
Panel 2 further emphasized the importance of collective collaboration in achieving successful decarbonization. Mr. Richard Sedano, President, and CEO of The Regulatory Assistance Authority, discussed the regulatory challenges and opportunities associated with advanced energy storage technologies. He emphasized the need for data and tracking systems for renewable energy and highlighted the growing demand for energy from customers. Adoption of advanced energy storage technologies and collaboration among key stakeholders were underscored as crucial components of the transition to a carbon-free energy future.
Dr. Rashi Gupta, Founder & Managing Director, Vision Mechatronics stressed the correlation between increased energy efficiency and reduced storage requirements. Dr. Gupta advocated for clean renewable regeneration and more inclusive policies fostering collaboration. She emphasized that collective collaboration holds the key to achieving successful decarbonization. She believes that developing nations have an advantage to start things right through the lessons learnt from developed nations.
Dr. Divya Sharma, Executive Director, Climate Group India highlighted their collaboration with corporate entities, responding to market demands and actively engaging in campaigns. Climate Group’s focus is on creating electricity market structures, removing regulatory barriers, and providing stable frameworks. There are more than 400 RE100 companies globally, with more than 100 companies operating in India with an aim to achieve 100% RE before 2040.
Mr. Vinod Tiwari from Power Ledger discussed the usefulness of blockchain in reducing curtailment and providing real-time tracking of supply sources. He indicated the importance of having granular data on the supply and demand side and also using technology to track carbon-free energy scores and turn it into effective visualizations.
In conclusion, the panel agreed that achieving 24/7 carbon-free energy requires collaboration, innovation, and inclusive policies. Market barriers, regulatory stability, and demand-driven businesses were key considerations for success and all key stakeholders need to work together to leverage the global community’s strength. With shared access, collective actions, and unwavering motivation, a more sustainable carbon-free energy future is achievable for all.
¹ Princeton University, Zero Lab, (2022) [System-level Impacts of 24/7 Carbon-free Electricity Procurement]
² TU Berlin (2022), Carbon-free energy, every hour of every day