This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.

Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer, Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Dick Brooks is the inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software...

  • Member since 2018
  • 1,540 items added with 672,216 views
  • Apr 15, 2021

Green Buyer momentum continues at a strong pace.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 15, 2021

Richard, please: either Facebook shuts down at night and whenever the wind stops blowing, or it has not "met its 100% renewable energy goal".

I didn't think I would have to explain this, but here goes:

Electrical energy does not sit in transmission wires waiting to be used. Supply must be generated in real time, and must be precisely matched to demand. If supply of energy isn't within ~2% of demand, breakers trip and the grid goes down. It's never (intentionally) allowed to happen.

That means when insufficient solar and wind resources are available, all residences and  businesses (including Facebook) rely to some degree on plants burning natural gas for their supply of electricity. In the process they emit a lot of CO2, and there is no system of "credits", or "offsets", that can change that fact. Any attempt by Facebook, Apple, Google, or anyone else to sidestep it is 100% bull$hit.

If I sound exasperated it's because there's a lot of this on EC today, and because I think you know better.

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Apr 16, 2021

Bob, this is not about knowing better, it's about a difference of opinion between you and I. My view is that parties like Facebook cannot guarantee that every electron they consume is coming from a Green resource". However they can "pay back" all of their consumed electrons by investing in renewable energy that offsets their "dirty" electrons with "Green" electrons. I see no problem with this "pay back" concept, until such time that every electron carries a "green button" to indicate it came from a green resource, and the dirty electrons can be filtered out. I understand that you can't accept this pay back concept - it's ok for us to differ in our opinions.  In the mean time, "pay back" is all that's available for now. Like Matt said - it's better than doing nothing.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 16, 2021

"However they can 'pay back' all of their consumed electrons by investing in renewable energy that offsets their "dirty" electrons with "Green" electrons."

Show me some math, Richard, of how selling credits to fossil fuel power plants to justify burning more coal and gas counts as some kind of "offset", or "payback". Do credits magically pull emissions from the air after they've been emitted?

"Like Matt said - it's better than doing nothing."

If selling licenses to carbon polluters encourages them to continue polluting, no - it's worse than nothing. It's allowing both parties to profit at the expense of the environment.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 15, 2021

While I agree with Bob's notion that calling Facebook's operations 100% renewable is disingenuous at best, I still commend them for their actions. Providing their massive market influence to fund these clean energy sources is far better than doing nothing, it's setting the pace for other tech companies to see they can do the same, and I believe it's just the beginning. 

Don't hang the 'Mission Accomplished' banner just yet, but use this as a positive sign of things to come!

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Apr 18, 2021

"Don't hang the 'Mission Accomplished' banner just yet, but use this as a positive sign of things to come!"

A thought experiment: let's assume years down the road RECs are 100% successful - that every MWh of fossil fuel energy is 'offset' by one MWh of clean energy. At that point, with both renewables generators and fossil generators getting credit for 100% clean energy, further progress will be impossible: the best we can possibly hope to achieve is 50% penetration of clean energy.

No doubt hatched in the marketing departments of Chevron, Shell, and BP, on a very cursory level the deliberate double-counting of renewables "seems to make sense". But it's a lie, one that traps us into ongoing dependence on fossil fuel gas indefinitely.

I won't hang the 'Mission Failed' banner out just yet, Matt, but that "Renewable Energy Credits" have been so eagerly and naïvely accepted as a path to 100% clean energy is most certainly not a positive sign of things to come!

Richard Brooks's picture
Thank Richard for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »