Best Conference 2021


24/7 energy matching

How Google is pursuing 24/7 energy matching was revealed during the final discussion on Day 1. 

Matching carbon-free energy sources with consumption on a 24/7 basis can help accelerate grid decarbonisation. Moreover, it can increase transparency and incentivise new investments in renewables and storage, explained Bruce Douglas – Eurelectric’s Director of Business and Communications – who presented this workshop.

As a result, interest in 24/7 matching continues to grow among corporate, public sector and institutional energy buyers. 

In his introduction, Joop Hazenburg, Policy & Impact Director, RE-Source, said power purchase agreements (PPAs) are key to accelerating the energy transition. He explained that PPAs are thriving in the EU, with over 18 GW of installed capacity through corporates in 2021.

The experiences of Google formed part of the discussion, with the company’s Global Head of Energy Market Development and Policy, Caroline Golin, describing its implementation. In addition, she provided the audience with the practical reasons why Google has pursued this policy.

She said the company is working on pursuing zero-emission electricity in a number of ways, including puchasing, technology development, and advocacy. Furthermore, she outlined the programme principles which are based on:

  • Time-based matching: moving from annual volume-based goal to hourly matching of load
  • Local procurement: moving from global meatching of demand to local or regional grids
  • Technology-inclusive: moving from renewable energy only to all carbon-free energy, including nuclear and carbon capture sequestration
  • Additionality: adding new clean energy projects to the grid through procurement, but recognise that additionality is a spectrum
  • For Google, the ultimate goal is to eliminate carbon from electricity grids, Ms Golin said.

What carbon-free energy looks like

  • Sébastien de Menten, Innovation Project Lead with Engie, highlighted the importance of consumers being able to visualise what carbon-free energy (CFE) means.
  • Elsewhere, Tom Brown – Professor of Digital Transformation in Energy Systems at TU Berlin – also oultined the benefits of 24/7 RES, highlighting that they not only reduce emissions for the buyer and the rest of the system, they also trigger investment in new technologies that the system will need later.
  • He revealed quantitative findings from studies into Denmark and Ireland, showing that a 80%-90% hourly CFE target has only a small cost premium over annual RES matching. However, 100% hourly CFE can increase the cost by up to 60%, depending on the technologies available.
  • How cities think about electricity systems was introduced by Constant Alarcon, Programme Manager for Clean Energy at C40 Cities. Citing the examples of Sydney and Melbourne, he explained how they are working on both supply and storage to help decarbonise their systems.
  • Finally and echoing the sentiments of Mr de Menten, Fiona Tiller – Product Owner for Powerledger – talked about the importance of customers being able to visualise what their energy consumption looks like. Her company enables customers to see where their renewables are coming from and how they are consuming energy during the day.