Google and SVCE devise a carbon-free energy plan

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Renewable energy accounting by commercial and governmental entities has followed global guidelines based on annual generation and usage. Historically, Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) has provided electricity that is carbon-free as measured on an annual basis. This week, SVCE and Google have created a fundamentally new 24/7 renewable energy service that establishes a standard retail product where renewable and carbon-free energy is matched hourly with electric demand.

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This deal features hourly renewable energy matching, integrated demand management, and a commitment to ongoing community investments in local building and transportation electrification.

“This agreement with SVCE allows us to both decarbonize our energy supply at Google, while also giving SVCE the opportunity to test innovative strategies to decarbonize all their customers,” said Asim Tahir, Director for Energy & Carbon at Google. “Working with our local partners is a key element of our decarbonization strategy, and we look forward to growing together with SVCE and helping improve the community’s carbon performance.”

SVCE is a public, community choice energy agency formed in 2016 by 13 local jurisdictions to provide carbon-free electricity at competitive rates and electrification programs to further reduce community-wide carbon emissions.

Under the 10-year agreement, SVCE will serve Google’s offices in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, matching carbon-free electricity with Google’s local demand for at least 92% of all hours in the year.

The agreement sets a new standard for customers and energy providers by establishing a Carbon-Free Energy (CFE) measure – a 24/7 “CFE Score.” SVCE will incorporate this measure into a commercial energy service for Google, to build and manage an optimized portfolio of complementary clean resources designed to match Google’s local energy demand across all hours of the year, including wind, solar, geothermal, demand-side management and long-duration energy storage.

In addition, the service supports dynamic management of demand from Google’s growing all-electric building and transportation infrastructure. Google’s all-electric building systems, including thermal and electric storage, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, can be flexed to use energy when it is cleanest and lowest-cost, and further improve 24/7 CFE performance.

“The SVCE 24/7 carbon-free energy service with Google serves as a model for how large commercial energy customers and energy providers can work together to further advance clean, carbon-free electricity on the grid, coupled with electrification efforts in the local community,” said Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “This type of forward-thinking collaboration is a real difference-maker in our full-scale transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity.”

This is especially important in California because the grid is now heavily supplied by inexpensive solar energy during daytime hours, but still reliant on more costly fossil fuels in evening and winter hours. A 24/7 carbon-free energy service helps bring more renewables and storage to the grid and behind-the-meter resources when they are needed.

SVCE’s new energy service with Google represents a model that can be replicated and scaled – in other communities, by other energy providers, and commercial energy customers – with important benefits:

For the customer:

  • Delivers 24/7 CFE as an integrated retail service, with new planning, procurement and operational processes, and performance metrics
  • Encourages demand-side management to flex building and vehicle electrification loads toward hours when electricity supply is the cleanest and lowest-cost

For the community

  • Leverages a long-term customer commitment to local emissions reduction through ongoing investments in innovative building and vehicle electrification at customer campuses, and via related incentive programs available to the local community

For the grid

  • Further reduces grid carbon emissions by channeling new investment toward renewables that generate during hours most reliant on fossil fuels

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