More than a decade ago, a host of U.S. companies helped drive down wind and solar energy costs through voluntary energy purchases, a trend that’s reshaped the nation’s power sector.
Now, a coalition of nearly 300 major corporations and institutions is urging those same companies to give similar treatment to much-needed next-generation clean energy technologies like long-term batteries, hydropower and geothermal energy.
Google is part of the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance, which along with White House officials and the Clean Air Task Force is endorsing what they called a pivotal shift in voluntary corporate energy purchases on a webinar this month.
The alliance, whose members also include Microsoft Corp., Walmart Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and General Motors Co., is specifically seeking to channel financial support to clean energy options such as long-term batteries, geothermal energy, hydrogen fuels, hydropower installations on existing dams, CO2 capture from gas-fired power plants and new nuclear reactor projects to help jump-start these technologies.
The new solution is called 24/7 carbon-free procurement, with companies lining up a portfolio of clean energy sources, including variable wind and solar and “Firm” sources that aren’t dependent on sunshine or wind.
Google has also signed purchasing contracts with startup Fervo Energy, which is adapting oil and gas fracking methods to the production of geothermal energy to generate power.
“While we put a lot of new renewable energy on the grid, we haven’t taken off a lot of the dirty energy that was there, and that was really difficult for us to swallow,” she told webinar participants.
That means federal regulations on clean energy goals, major investment in transmission, direct federal investment in commercializing next-generation technology, changes in energy markets, and new clean energy purchasing opportunities for corporate buyers, she added in an email.