An energy provider attempts to achieve 24/7 clean energy
A conversation with Jan Pepper of Peninsula Clean Energy.
Back in November of 2021, I did a series of stories and podcasts on the hottest new trend in clean energy: attempting to achieve not just 100 percent clean energy but 24/7 clean energy, ie, clean energy at every hour of every day.
For reasons explained at length in those pieces, 24/7 is a much more difficult goal. Offsetting 100 percent of your energy use with clean energy mainly involves buying bulk wind and solar wherever and whenever they are cheapest. But matching your energy use with clean energy on an hourly basis means finding sources that can cover for wind and solar when they are not available.
Some big corporate players like Google have taken the first steps down this road, but the first energy provider to attempt it, as far as I know, is Peninsula Clean Energy (PCE), a Bay Area community choice aggregator (CCA) that serves all 20 of the cities and towns in San Mateo County, as well as the City of Los Banos.
In December 2021, PCE issued a white paper on the need for 24/7 clean energy, its rationale for pursuing 24/7 by 2025, and the steps it intended to take to get there. Earlier this month, it issued a follow-up white paper reporting on the tool it built to map out 24/7 and the lessons learned.
I am fascinated by the practical challenges of getting to 24/7, so I’m excited to talk to Jan Pepper, CEO of Peninsula and lead author on the latest white paper, about why PCE is setting out to achieve 24/7, the main barriers, and the ways it may get easier in the future.
(To read more about Peninsula Clean Energy’s 24/7 push — and see charts! — check out Jeff St. John’s latest article for Canary Media.)