INTERVIEW - Green certification on an hourly basis is the next front line of decarbonisation
Giacomo Bravaccini speaking at the World Hydrogen Congress. Image by WHC22.
Cleantech software provider FlexiDAO, which counts Google and Microsoft as both investors in and customers of the company, is co-creating the global standard for 24/7 carbon-free electricity.
FlexiDAO’s software platform traces the electricity its customers use from production to consumption in order to enable credible claims on its carbon footprint, every hour of the day. At the World Hydrogen Congress last week, Renewables Now spoke with Giacomo Bravaccini, marketing manager at the company, about the growing importance of 24/7 green power supply and how blockchain-based technologies could kill institutional greenwashing.
24/7 green power is rarely mentioned in PPA deals and tenders for power supply, at least for now. When do you expect this to become the norm?
Early movers like Google, Microsoft, and Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) are already stimulating the demand for 24/7 PPAs and this in turn is beginning to lead to more 24/7 PPA products emerging in the market.
We have recently hosted the first edition of FlexiDAO’s 24/7 Carbon-free Energy (CFE) Academy at RE-Source, where 60+ corporate energy buyers gathered to understand what, why, but mostly how to begin their 24/7 CFE journey. Buyers are increasingly acknowledging the strong business case for this kind of procurement strategy and are holding themselves to a much higher account over the carbon intensity of their current energy purchases.
What are the biggest challenges today, in your opinion, to securing 24/7 green power?
1. We need to increase the awareness of and education on 24/7 CFE. Some energy buyers are still unaware of how “100% renewable energy” contracts do not mean your energy supply is carbon-free every hour of every day.
2. We need improved data access and analysis. You need to know how carbon-intensive your current energy procurement strategy is before you can start procuring 24/7 green energy contracts. This requires granular information about your energy supply contracts, the energy mix on the grids you operate on, and your energy usage every hour of the day.
How can Flexidao help?
Addressing the first challenge above, we are soon to launch our 24/7 CFE Academy online. This is a landmark educational platform that can take you step by step through the 24/7 CFE journey – teaching you how to adopt a 24/7 CFE strategy and start procuring cleaner energy every hour of the day.
As for the data access and analysis, FlexiDAO offers two solutions – CFEscore and REspring – which help energy buyers and suppliers to track the carbon intensity of their current energy procurement strategies.
CFEscore is a free web tool that estimates the baseline hourly matching score (CFEscore) of existing RE contracts, whether they are PPAs, green tariffs, or unbundled Guarantees of Origins (a.k.a. RECs, REGOs, etc.). Indeed it is crucial to understand that EVERY renewable energy contract has an embedded hourly matching score. CFEscore is the best way for buyers to get acquainted with these new hourly metrics.
RESpring, which is a blockchain-based platform, goes beyond being a Scope 2 emission reporting dashboard; in fact, it collects all the necessary energy data for buyers and transforms it into valuable insights which are key to hitting energy decarbonisation targets.
Are you collaborating with partners to inspire and urge energy consumers and governments to speed up 24/7 deals?
FlexiDAO is co-creating the global standard to define how companies source carbon-free electricity and provide them with the tools to take action. We are part of the UN 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, a global community working together to build the technologies, policies, tools, ideas, and advocacy needed to create a future where all electricity demand worldwide is met with Carbon-Free Energy sources.
We also work closely with Energy Tag, an initiative defining and building a market for hourly energy certificates - a crucial market tool that can drive the adoption of 24/7 CFE much more widely.
Our partner Eurelectric recently launched their European 24/7 Hub, an educational platform focusing on the What and Why of 24/7 CFE. FlexiDAO’s 24/7 CFE Academy compliments this platform, providing more detail into how you can start your 24/7 CFE journey.
We met at the World Hydrogen Congress. Where do you see Flexidao in hydrogen?
Certifying that hydrogen is truly low- or zero-carbon is an emerging challenge as this energy carrier plays a key role in the energy transition. The European Parliament is currently in intense debates over whether H2 production requires hourly matching of renewables generation.
Accurate certification, on an hourly basis, is essential to verify if ‘green’ hydrogen is really green rather than produced with carbon-intensive fuels. Removing this level of detail could result in hydrogen falling victim to institutional greenwashing, which could significantly hamper the EU decarbonisation targets. You can find some studies that prove that:
Blockchain-based platforms like FlexiDAO’s REspring can prove hydrogen’s authenticity - acting as a transparent digital notary - as once a piece of data is stored in a blockchain, it is inextricably linked to every other record.
Actually, are there any existing green hydrogen projects that will use electricity from the grid and plan to be sourcing 24/7 renewables (not just certified volumes under PPAs or REC purchases)?
We have the pleasure to be partnering with Acciona Energia in the Green Hysland project, in Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. Our solution, RESpring, rebranded under the name GreenH2Chain by Acciona Energia for this specific project, is making sure that the electrolyser is fed with carbon-free electricity every hour of the day. The project was mentioned by Ursula Von der Leyen as a prime example of the nascent EU Green H2 economy.
Could blockchain-based emissions tracking open the door to a different approach in determining hydrogen "colours" in the future?
We believe that, as long as the grid is not fed by carbon-free electricity 24/7 (we’re quite far away from that), all H2 production facilities connected to the grid must certify the “shade of green” of their output. That must always happen if they are planning to claim they are producing renewable hydrogen.
Obviously, blockchain-based solutions can be used as a digital notary that provides the necessary transparency layer that the nascent H2 economy needs to face an increasingly aware public opinion. Especially when a considerable amount of public funds are granted to the industry.