CRA Insights

Enabling 24/7 carbon-free energy: modeling tools and decision frameworks

June 20, 2024
Wind and solar farm desert with mountain backdrop

As the global push towards a sustainable energy future accelerates, a growing number of market players are focused on securing carbon-free energy sources around the clock. Industrial players, such as data centers and hydrogen producers, are at the forefront of this shift, driven by legislative and internal mandates and technological advancements. Likewise, many electric utilities are evaluating how to incorporate hourly clean generation goals as part of their resource planning.

In this paper, CRA Energy consultants delve into the complexities and opportunities inherent in transitioning to a 24/7 carbon-free energy (24/7 CFE) grid. We propose a new metric—Loss of Green Hours (LoGH)—to help decision makers achieve the optimal balance between meeting decarbonization goals and investing in a carbon-free resource mix. We demonstrate that entities with aggressive LoGH targets will have to substantially overbuild their resource mix or look to next generation carbon-free technologies to achieve their goals.

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