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Press Release

Singularity Energy Released a New Framework for Defining Voluntary Clean Energy Market Boundaries

Published by Todd Bush on August 24, 2023

Voluntary procurement by corporate buyers has accounted for over 25% of new energy capacity added to the U.S. grid since 2014 – this white paper illustrates important issues with current standards and introduces a new, more robust framework

BOSTON, Aug. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Singularity Energy has released a new white paper titled "Where matters: Integrating deliverability into voluntary clean energy market boundaries" which introduces a new framework that can be used to help design more credible, impactful, and practical procurement boundaries for voluntary clean energy markets. The research was supported by Google; The Brattle Group contributed subject-matter expertise on electricity systems and markets, and research on the role of procurement boundaries in standards and policies.

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Over the past decade, the voluntary clean energy market has played a large role in grid decarbonization. Voluntary procurement by corporate buyers has accounted for over 68 gigawatts of clean energy capacity added to the U.S. grid since 2014, and voluntary purchases comprised about 6% of U.S. retail electricity sales in 2021, growing at a rate of about 20% year over year. These significant voluntary contributions to the clean energy transition have been guided and supported by procurement and carbon accounting standards such as the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, RE100, and CDP.

As a result of the growth of the voluntary market and the evolution of the grid since these standards were written, there is a growing need for these standards to better align voluntary procurement with the physical and market realities of today's electricity system. The framework presented in this paper is intended to help standards setters increase the credibility and consistency of clean energy claims and Scope 2 carbon accounting.

This white paper seeks to offer an objective, flexible tool that can support standards setters as they approach the process of defining market boundaries for voluntary clean energy standards, for example the GHG Protocol Scope 2 Guidance. The premise of this framework is that voluntary energy markets and market-based carbon accounting should map accurately onto electricity markets and reflect some level of physical deliverability of electricity, while remaining practical enough to encourage broad participation. To support the continued decarbonization of the electric grid, this framework suggests that carbon accounting and voluntary clean energy programs should carefully consider the market boundaries they use.

"The voluntary clean energy market can be a powerful tool for decarbonization, but it needs to be sufficiently linked to the underlying physical and market dynamics of the grid that it is trying to decarbonize. The balance this framework attempts to strike is ensuring both broad and impactful participation in voluntary clean energy markets by considering the practicality, deliverability, and structural relevance of the procurement boundaries that are used," said Dr. Greg Miller, Research & Policy Lead at Singularity Energy. "While we recognize that this work may not yet have all the answers, this framework is intended as a starting point for a more robust conversation on the topic of deliverability in voluntary clean energy markets, and we invite others to help put it to the test to refine it over time."

"Increasingly, clean energy procurement strategies and policies will need to align with and mutually support the realities of locational deliverability within the physical power grid and regional power markets, if they are to drive reliable and affordable clean energy transition," added Dr. Kathleen Spees, Principal at The Brattle Group.

Michael Terrell, Senior Director for Energy and Climate at Google, also commented, "Deploying clean energy on the same grids where we consume power enables us to more directly address our emissions while advancing decarbonization in the communities where we operate. We welcome this new research which will help standard setters thoughtfully improve market boundaries to be more credible and enable more impactful clean energy procurement."

Singularity Energy

Founded in 2018, Singularity Energy is the most intelligent grid decarbonization platform built by experienced power systems and software experts from Harvard and MIT. Singularity's platform provides high-quality, time and location-based grid emissions data, and a suite of innovative products such as developer APIs, and intelligent tools for grid operators, utilities, companies, and service providers to build data-driven decarbonization solutions. Singularity Energy is a winner of the Harvard Physical Science & Engineering Accelerator, the Greentown Labs Bold Idea Challenge in partnership with Schneider Electric, the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Grant, and a URBAN-X company. Singularity's investors include top climate tech and energy venture capital firms – Spero Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, Third Sphere and J Ventures.

The Brattle Group

The Brattle Group is an economic consulting firm established in 1995. With more than 400 consultants staffed from fourteen offices across the globe, we provide clients expert support in economics, finance, and regulation across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and the Pacific Rim.

Our electricity practice has been at the core of our consulting services for over 30 years and is Brattle's largest industry practice, consisting of over 50 consultants across three areas: regulatory economics, finance, & rates; wholesale markets & planning; and litigation & regulatory disputes. Our consultants provide services to regulators, system operators, transmission owners, and market participants in every sector, including generation, transmission, distribution, distributed resources, and customers. Brattle has worked with over 400 electric and gas utilities, cooperatives, and public power authorities globally across all 50 U.S. states and 30 countries.

SOURCE Singularity

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