Constellation, a leading power supplier, recently announced its partnership with Illinois utility company ComEd. Under the agreement, Constellation will provide 100% hourly-matched carbon-free electricity to power ComEd's offices and facilities.
The partnership will result in the delivery of approximately 65,000 megawatt-hours of nuclear power annually to ComEd's 54 offices and metered sites. This move sets Constellation apart from most businesses that reduce their Scope 2 emissions by matching their power usage with renewable energy certificates on an annual basis.
While many businesses account for and offset their power consumption on an annual basis, this approach can still lead to net carbon emissions. Most renewable power sources operate intermittently, meaning that grids often rely on carbon-emitting sources like natural gas or coal when there is a lack of sun or wind energy. As a result, simply purchasing and retiring abundant daytime solar power does not fully offset the carbon emissions generated during non-renewable energy usage.
To address this challenge and achieve true net zero Scope 2 emissions, businesses are transitioning towards matching their power usage on an hourly basis with renewable energy generated simultaneously and in the same location.
The partnership between Constellation and ComEd embraces this new trend by providing 100% hourly-matched carbon-free electricity. By doing so, they ensure that every unit of power consumed aligns with renewable energy generation during the same hour.
This collaboration signifies a significant step towards achieving sustainable energy usage in the commercial sector. Through innovative strategies and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions, Constellation and ComEd join forces to create a cleaner and more environmentally friendly future.
ComEd's Commitment to Clean Energy
ComEd, a utility company in Illinois, is dedicated to supporting the state's objective of achieving 100 percent clean energy by 2050. As part of this commitment, ComEd strives to reduce the use of fossil fuels and decrease carbon emissions at its facilities throughout the day.
A Step Towards Climate Change Challenges
ComEd's CEO, Gil Quiniones, emphasized the significance of addressing climate change challenges. In a statement, he acknowledged that Constellation's 100 percent hourly matching carbon-free energy solution provides a valuable tool to tackle these challenges effectively.
Hourly Matching Programs: Google and Constellation
In 2020, Google partnered with AES to develop an hourly-matching program. This initiative was a response to the realization that their annual matching approach resulted in substantial carbon emissions. Data centers, which require continuous power, played a significant role in these emissions.
Following suit, Constellation collaborated with Microsoft in 2022 to create a similar program.
The Difficulty of Achieving Around-the-Clock Carbon-Free Power
Achieving uninterrupted carbon-free power remains challenging in many regions. Several regional transmission organizations lack systems that allow for hourly tracking in their REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) generation processes. However, there are some advancements in this area. M-RETS started issuing hourly-stamped RECs in 2019, and the PJM Interconnection followed suit this year. NEPOOL is also working towards implementing hourly tracking, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Executive Order for Carbon-Free Power
In 2021, the Biden Administration issued an Executive Order mandating that the federal government aims to achieve 50% carbon-free power on an hourly basis by 2030.