Clear Air Activity Pressure joins Google and others to push Biden to purchase 24/7 carbon-free electrical energy
Tech companies Google, Adobe, and Hewlett Packard have joined environmental groups like the Clean Air Task Force and the Environmental Defense Fund to urge the Biden government to use its role to force the federal government, the world’s largest electricity customer, to 100 Buy% clean electricity. Available 24/7 and sourced from the region.
The proposed approach, which officials from the groups say is playing off the use of President Biden’s executive powers on climate change early in his tenure and the appointment of climate-focused executives across the executive, encourages the hourly decarbonization of electricity usage in each regional grid and safeguarding a clean energy supply around the clock. Read the letter to the White House.
The size of the federal government will then encourage cleaner power across the private sector, proponents argue. The federal government consumed 53 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2019, but only about 8% to 9% were counted as renewable sources, according to the Clean Air Task Force. In total, the US federal government spends $ 500 billion each year on electricity purchases for the Department of Defense and other uses.
The Biden government has set a goal of having a 100% clean power grid by 2035, but details of this plan are not yet clear.
The proposal by the Clean Air Task Force and its co-authors focuses on how much electricity is actually being used in real time. This approach differs from the traditional approach to sourcing clean energy. The current system is based on buying renewable electricity or credits for renewable energy from solar and wind projects far away, and still relies heavily on fossil fuels, especially natural gas, when solar and wind turbines are at risk.
This model does not provide the right incentives to invest in advanced storage or in carbon-free technologies as it allows the demand from remote energy projects to be met regardless of the time of generation and consumption, say the proposal’s architects. Google togetL from Alphabet, + 0.03%,
Adobe ADBE (-0.82%) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise HPE (+ 0.77%) benefit when their technologies to track usage and build a power grid are only used for renewable energies.
Increased electricity procurement also aims to reduce reliance on the fossil fuel generation that powers the grid when sufficient variable renewable energy generation is not available, and to increase demand for energy storage and solid and shippable carbon-free resources. The proposed approach focuses on sourcing carbon-free resources from the same region as the demand to ensure that local grids make progress towards decarbonization.
A broad portfolio of energy sources and emission reducers is seen as part of the mix encouraged by this plan, including green hydrogen and nuclear power, as well as carbon capture and advances in battery storage that are often featured in bipartisan proposals to upgrade the power grid, said Lindsey Baxter Griffith, Director of Federal Policy, Clean Air Task Force. Currently, relatively inexpensive natural gas is used as the primary or backup source of energy to keep the electricity grid running, even when the wind and sun are partially used.
“We believe that the US government, the world’s largest electricity consumer, has the power to move markets,” said Baxter Griffith.
Market-based solutions to mitigate climate change, including those that rely on technological innovation, remain a central theme of most Republican-led legislative proposals.
The group’s proposal, which includes the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, also argues to the Biden government that the regional approach will encourage job creation, especially in areas that may have jobs The need to replace traditional energy supplies will allow the environment to react more quickly to historically underserved areas, which is part of the “environmental justice” argument that has become increasingly important.