Feb 4, 2022 - Science

Federal officials open push for 24/7 clean power

An earth with hands of a clock
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Biden administration is taking initial steps to meet a tough goal: powering the government with zero-carbon power around the clock.

Driving the news: Yesterday the General Services Administration — the government's landlord — and the Defense Department announced a formal request for information (RFI) to solicit input.

  • It follows President Biden's December executive order that calls for 50% of federal power to be emissions-free on a 24/7 basis by 2030 and "produced within the same regional grid where the energy is consumed."

Why it matters: The federal government and the Defense Department, in particular, are massive electricity users, so their efforts can help drive the push for 24/7 clean power methods on a wider basis.

  • The information request aims is a preliminary step that's designed to better understand the industry's ability to provide hourly matching and the costs involved.

Catch up fast: Some corporations are procuring enough renewables to meet their aggregate annual power demand, but that's hardly the same as avoiding coal and gas entirely.

  • Avoiding any power from fossil resources on an hourly basis is an emerging challenge that can help deeply decarbonize grids, but is also much tougher.
  • It's one that some companies and local governments are taking on, with Google hoping to have its operations run 24/7 on clean power by 2030.
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