The latest science shows that preventing the worst effects of climate change will require shifting to 100 percent carbon-free energy sources well before mid-century. President Joe Biden set a goal of reaching 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 in the United States, and the new budget reconciliation package includes a Clean Electricity Payment Program, tax incentives and other power sector policies designed to help achieve that. Large energy buyers such as companies and cities — which use more than half of the electricity generated in the United States — will be critical for the needed transition.

To date, large energy buyers have played an important role in decarbonizing the U.S. grid by purchasing and adding large quantities of new renewable energy capacity. Globally, corporate buyers purchased more than 76 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy since 2011. In the U.S., corporations have been responsible for deploying 35 GW out of a total 130 GW of new utility-scale renewables added over the last decade.

But it’s important they go even further. Over the next decade, the U.S. needs to deploy two to three times the record levels of renewables it installed in 2020 to fully decarbonize the grid.

Large energy buyers can help not only by increasing their clean energy use, but also by focusing on how, when and where they are procuring and using carbon-free energy resources — what we refer to as transformative procurement.

Below, we explore six types of transformative energy procurement practices available to large energy buyers.

  1. Match clean energy purchases to energy use hourly
  2.  Shift loads and increase demand flexibility
  3. Develop new dispatchable clean energy technologies
  4. Use storage and other decarbonization-enabling technologies
  5. Optimize emissions reductions from clean energy projects
  6. Enable an equitable clean energy transition

Read the full article about energy buyers by  Lori Bird & Norma Hutchinson & Eric O'Shaughnessy at GreenBiz.