What is 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy?

24/7 CFE (Carbon Free Energy) means that every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption is supplied from sources free from carbon emissions every hour of each day. This introduces the question, what does “Free from carbon emission” mean? Free from carbon emission refers to all the energy that comes from electrical sources considered to be free of such emissions including wind, sun, nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric and other carbon free sources.

24/7 CFE is a lofty goal and can have challenges as some renewable energy sources such as solar or wind-powered sources are inherently intermittent. Simply stated, the sun isn’t always shining, and wind is unpredictable.

During low or zero periods of renewable energy production, or during peak demand, it is necessary to utilize energy produced by fossil fueled sources such as coal or natural gas.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Achieve 24/7 CFE?

Carbon-free clean energy that can satisfy 100% of the global network demand will take a sizable and global effort. Currently, the national and global energy market does not accommodate 24/7 CFE, but we hope it will be possible this sooner rather than later. On a small scale, some companies are actively working toward 24/7 CFE.

What are the 24/7 Clean Energy or CFE principles?

Time-matched procurement: 24/7 CFE focuses on matching each hour of electricity consumption with carbon-free electricity generation. Hourly matching helps connect clean energy purchasing to underlying electricity consumption.

Local procurement: 24/7 CFE means purchasing clean energy on the local/regional electricity grids where electricity consumption occurs. This is the only way to drive the electricity-related emissions for which a consumer is directly responsible to zero.

Technology-inclusive: 24/7 CFE recognizes the need to create zero-carbon electricity systems as fast as possible, and that all carbon-free energy technologies can play a role in creating this future.

Enable New Generation: 24/7 CFE focuses on enabling new clean electricity generation, in order to support the rapid decarbonization of electricity systems.

Maximize System Impact: 24/7 CFE focuses attention on maximizing emissions reductions and solving issues centered on the “dirtiest” hours of electricity consumption.

What are the Benefits of 24/7 CFE?

According to an article in the World Economic Forum, 24/7 CFE may generate the following benefits:

  • Effectively reduce or eliminate carbon emissions associated with electricity use by ensuring that hourly electricity consumption is being matched with clean energy generation. This solves the issues surrounding those that effectively become the ‘dirtiest’ hours of energy consumption, maximizing emission reduction
  • Encourage development of mechanisms and technologies to ensure 24/7 clean energy. So that when companies value hourly clean energy, they have mechanisms, standards and technologies that are built to support that mission (such as real-time energy monitoring, energy storage and granular clean energy)
  • Support further investment in clean energy assets on electric grids by providing incentives for suppliers to always make renewable energy available in locations where renewables would have a larger impact on grid decarbonization
  • Reduce market risk and increases ESG scores (Environmental, social, and governance) by matching demand on an hourly basis

In summary, 24/7 CFE is good for our environment and reduces our dependency on fossil fuels. 24/7 is a smart way to reduce global emissions and is a goal of many companies worldwide with some actively working toward it. Hopefully in the near future 24/7 CFE will be available for everyone.

Need help with 24/7 CFE for your company? Contact us today to see what may be possible.