24/7 Carbon-free energy matching: shaping the future of corporate energy procurement

News Article

The EU power sector has a key role to play to end Europe’s addiction to imported fossil fuels. It is this dependence that triggered the current energy crisis and because of it many households and businesses across Europe are now experiencing unprecedented pressure.  

Energy savings, as shown in our Power Barometer, are necessary to alleviate the pressure and ensure supply security in the short term. In the long-term however, the only structural solution to future energy crunches is to massively decarbonise our energy system through clean and renewable electrification.   

One of the key drivers is corporate renewable energy sourcing. More businesses are now pledging to match their energy use with 100% renewable-based electricity. As a result, the EU renewable share of electricity consumption has steadily increased to reach 45% in 2020 compared to 22% in 2015.  

The companies, however, are matching their energy demand with renewable supply on an annual basis, and the majority using green tariffs or unbundled Guarantees of Origin. This does not necessarily drive new build renewable energy projects and maximise decarbonisation.  

A more ambitious corporate energy procurement is to guarantee carbon-free energy matching every hour of every day everywhere. This is how the 24/7 energy matching journey started. This approach aims at complementing the 100% RES annual matching by moving a step further.  

Carbon-free energy demand and supply can now be matched on an hourly or sub-hourly basis, thanks to granular certificates validated by timely meter and grid data. Such granularity can increase the transparency and clarity of energy procurement as well as buyers’ confidence. Moreover, 24/7 creates a clear price signal for renewables build-up and incentivises storage development, flexibility, and innovation. 

The good news is that several companies have already embarked on this journey. Google is leading the way, as explained by Caroline Golin - Global Head, Energy Market Development and Policy:  

“If our goal is to actually drive decarbonisation and if we truly believe that the grid is the innovation space where we grow technologies that will eventually get our entire economy off fossil fuels, then we really need to dig into the grid and figure out how we can drive the most impact”.

It is this common goal that inspired Eurelectric and its partners to launch the European 24/7 energy matching Hub, a platform where energy buyers, suppliers, and policy makers can meet to know more about 24/7, receive technical training, and guidance in its implementation.  

If more and more energy users step up their commitment to 24/7 energy matching, the decarbonisation of the grid would accelerate. Carbon-free grids are indeed the linchpin for healthier carbon-neutral societies. Yet, barriers to unleash its full potential remain. Complexity, low awareness, and lack of data access are some of the key challenges to scale up this innovative procurement approach. The most urgent, however, is the need for a common regulatory framework.  

The European Parliament’s has recently approved the 45% renewable target increase by 2030 and member states’ ability to issue granular certificates, as a building block of 24/7. This is a promising start but in MEP Morten Helveg Petersen words:

“If we want to drag the market [towards 24/7 energy matching] then the framework has to be common.”

It is now crucial that policymakers make “24/7” the new framework for carbon-free energy matching and shape the future of electricity sourcing across Europe and beyond. Allowing granular certificates, harmonised standards, and a system of recognition for businesses determined to take their energy procurement to the next level are urgent enablers.  

Eurelectric and its partners have already begun this challenging yet promising journey towards 24/7, will you join us for the ride? The first 24/7 Hub and Academy meeting will take place on Friday 7 October at the Re-Source event in Amsterdam.

More information on the European 24/7 Hub