"Overall, we find that hourly load-matching strategies can help lay the groundwork for a decarbonized grid in the long term but should be carefully tailored to region-specific grid dynamics to also maximize emissions reductions in the near term," RMI authors wrote in the report. "Buyers who have not yet offset 100% of their annual electricity use with procured (carbon-free energy) can feel confident that doing so based on annual targets in regions with low renewable energy adoption will continue to create material climate benefits. This can be done even as buyers who have already met that goal continue to push the envelope of sophistication and pave the way toward a 100% CFE grid."
Google, for example, has been carbon-neutral since 2007 through carbon offsets, and was one of the first companies to purchase renewable energy directly through PPAs in 2017. The company is now in the process of transitioning from 100% annual renewable energy matching to 24/7 matching by 2030.
That transition involves focusing on regional grid needs and hourly load matching, instead of annual, volume-based goals. In 2020, Google reached 67% carbon-free energy globally on an hourly basis.
Alicia Barton, CEO of First Light Power, notes that the corporate PPA can mitigate risk but "prevents combinations of technologies like the ones that are going to be important to deliver what we need for the grid."
John Engel is the Content Director for Renewable Energy World. For the past decade, John has worked as a journalist across various mediums -- print, digital, radio, and television -- covering sports, news, and politics. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina with his wife, Malia.
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