A new UN-led coalition is encouraging businesses to join a sustainable development effort that aims to achieve a full decarbonization of the electricity grid by 2030, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” The ambitious “24/7” goal envisions that every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption will be met with carbon-free electricity sources, every hour of every day, everywhere in the world.
The 24/7 Carbon Free Energy Compact is being led by UN-Energy, the United Nation’s mechanism for inter-agency collaboration in the field of energy, along with Google and Sustainable Energy for All, an international organization dedicated to achieving universal access to renewable energy by 2030.
Signatories of the Compact commit to various actions needed to enable the rapid and cost-effective achievement of 24/7 carbon-free energy for all, including:
- Procurement: purchasing quantities of clean energy that match hourly electricity demand on the local/regional electricity grids where their consumption occurs.
- Market mechanisms: developing contractual agreements, market products, or other innovations that enable the delivery of round-the-clock clean electricity.”
- Policy action: advocating for decarbonization policies such as subsidizing clean energy development and expanding and interconnecting smart grids.
- Technology: advancing carbon free–energy technologies such as renewable energy power plants, smart grid infrastructure, software solutions, and demand optimization tools.
- Data and Transparency: supporting widespread access to the energy data required to enable all consumers to set and measure 24/7 CFE goals, support the optimization of CFE technologies to demand, and maximize the decarbonization impact of consumer actions.
Each signatory agrees to submit specific commitments and actions between now and 2030, establish core metrics to measure their results, and report on their progress annually.
Founding signatories of the Compact include: 8 Rivers Capital, The AES Corporation, ClearTrace, the city of Des Moines, Iowa, EDP, Energy Tag, Fervo Energy, FlexiDAO, Google, the government of Iceland, Iron Mountain, the city of Ithaca, New York, LevelTen Energy, M-RETS, Orsted, Power Ledger, Statkraft, Tomorrow, and X.
Electricity accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, two sectors capable of being electrified — transportation and buildings — together account for another 21%. Decarbonizing the power grid thus has the potential to cut global emissions in half.