The US needs to build a bigger, stronger grid. FERC has a plan for that

At-a-Glance: 

A new federal proposal would task grid operators, states and utilities with planning a grid that can support clean energy over the long term — and fairly share the costs of building it. For more, read The US needs to build a bigger, stronger grid. FERC has a plan for that.

Key Takeaways:

  • The U.S. has abundant clean energy sources but the grid does not reliably connect those sources with population centers that need it the most.
  • The proposal, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC), would require all regulated transmission providers to undertake planning in a ​“sufficiently long-term, forward-looking basis to meet transmission needs driven by changes in the resource mix and demand.
  • Providers would also need to consider a number of factors in determining the benefits of regional transmission plans to be weighed against the costs of building them. For example, converting to clean energy sources may be more expensive in the short term but would pay off in the long run.
  • The proposal is not final. Stakeholders — including transmission grid operators, state utility and energy regulators, transmission-owning utilities, independent transmission and energy developers — will have months to comment on the proposal before FERC votes on a final rule, potentially before the end of this year. 

Path to 100% Perspective:

The Path to 100% will vary across the world, however the transition must include more clean energy sources, like wind and solar, while reducing the use of fossil fuels like coal. To get there, energy producers must be willing to invest and prepare for future technologies and fuel sources. In addition, governments at all levels must be willing to work with providers by passing laws and regulations that will allow for innovation and progress, even if the benefits are not seen immediately. This FERC proposal is encouraging because it appears to pave the way for that cooperation.

Should Google and Microsoft focus on sourcing their own 100% clean power or cleaning up the dirtiest grids?

At-a-Glance:

Major companies with ambitious clean energy goals face a complicated set of options for how they ought to prioritize their efforts over the coming decade. Should they make their own electricity supply as clean as possible, or should they focus first on cleaning up the dirtiest power grids? To learn more, read, “Should Google and Microsoft focus on sourcing their own 100% clean power or cleaning up the dirtiest grids?”

Key Takeaways:

  • Google’s 24/7 clean energy pledge, made a year ago, which sets a 2030 deadline for powering its data centers and corporate campuses with 100 percent carbon-free energy every hour of the year.
  • Microsoft followed up earlier this year with a 100/100/0 pledge to match 100 percent of its corporate power consumption with zero-carbon resources 100 percent of the time by decade’s end.
  • Maximizing corporate carbon reductions has been gaining traction in recent years: investing in clean energy projects based on their ​“emissionality,” or their ability to directly reduce carbon emissions

Path to 100% Perspective: 

Clean energy goals along with clean energy investments is accelerating the decarbonization journey by putting a focus on decreasing carbon emissions. Google and Microsoft have been making headlines for their clean energy efforts for several years. Each organization has been able to promote their 100% achievements within the past five years. The path to 100% renewable energy does not look the same for every organization, community or region, but the steps to decarbonization are similar. Investing in renewable energy as well as clean-technology is consistently producing clean energy solutions as well as additional pledges and milestone accomplishments.

Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash