Momentum is building around a smarter way to procure and invest in clean energy with the greatest decarbonization potential.
Gone are the days when a PPA would be signed based on price alone. Instead, today’s energy market participants are focused on understanding the entire impact of their procurement activity. One of the most critical metrics used by energy buyers in support of this is the amount of carbon emissions avoided by their specific project.
REsurety’s Locational Marginal Emissions tool, launched in July, helps buyers with this problem. Our tool measures the carbon emissions impact of each project at its particular node. At its launch, more than half a dozen sustainability leaders¹, including large energy buyers, investors, and advisors, had signed up to use the tool.
Nonprofits Align on Decarbonization Importance
The increasing focus on decarbonization is not just being driven by large, for-profit energy buyers or investors, however.
This past July, RMI released a white paper that analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of hourly load-matching with renewable energy. Most notably, it recommended that while hourly load-matching strategies can be valuable in the long run, they must be balanced with a near-term focus on emissions impact.
It is a “science-based imperative to reduce emissions as fast as possible in the near term,” the paper says, and focusing on emissions impact is critical. While hourly matching strategies provide other important long-term benefits, such as supporting emerging technologies, those benefits must be balanced against the urgency of emissions reductions today.
On August 20, the World Resources Institute (WRI) published an issue brief advising energy buyers on best practices for procurement. “Some generators reduce emissions more effectively than others,” the brief says. In order to maximize the decarbonization impact, “buyers can factor emissions abatement potential directly into their procurement decisions and prioritization of projects.”
Electric Grid Operators Get On Board
The momentum behind decarbonization has also been visible in the form of engagement from market operators.
This past spring, M-RETs, a non-profit platform for tracking environmental attributes, announced plans to work with MISO, a system operator, along with Google and EnergyTag, on a program to enable the hourly tracking of RECs and the associated carbon emissions impact of each MWh of clean energy generation.
Most recently, PJM, another system operator, said they have plans to publish 5-minute marginal emissions rates for load nodes within its footprint. The grid operator’s move further demonstrates the momentum behind precise emissions data as being a key input into data-driven sustainability strategies.
Continuing the Momentum
Efficient decarbonization of the grid is an urgent need – that’s why we need accurate marginal carbon emissions data. At REsurety, we’re working to make LME data available everywhere, starting first with ERCOT, PJM and CAISO. We’ve also patented our technology so that we can be transparent about precisely how LMEs are calculated and what specific grid dynamics are considered to measure nodal emissions at the most granular level possible.
We’re thrilled that so many groups – large energy buyers and investors, non-profits, and grid operators alike – are rallying around the same idea, and have recognized that granular emissions data is a critical input into enabling an efficient energy transition. By calculating the carbon impact at each node in the grid, we can help ensure that each purchase of clean energy, siting of a facility that uses electricity, or investment in energy storage is done in a way that maximizes decarbonization potential.
We have a lot of work to do to mitigate the worst of climate change. Enabling sustainability programs and investments to focus on maximizing carbon abatement is a vital step.
Let’s get to work.
¹ Microsoft, Hannon Armstrong, Marathon Capital, Akamai Technologies, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, Broad Reach Power, and The Brattle Group
To learn more about REsurety’s Locational Marginal Emission data product and how it measures the carbon emissions avoided by each clean energy purchase or investment, visit resurety.com/carbon or visit our FAQ. For questions and to learn how your company can purchase LME data, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.