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Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

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 and SAGScore™...

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  • Feb 11, 2021
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Consumer momentum continues to influence the energy transition - see link below for details.

In its second-annual Deal Tracker Top 10 report, REBA found that U.S. corporations once again showcased their resolve and commitment to renewable energy with a record-breaking 10.6 GW of contracted capacity.

REBA CEO Miranda Ballentine said, “It is remarkable that the business community announced nearly 100 new deals while managing the impacts of a global pandemic.”

Amazon is on a path to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of its original target of 2030. Building on Amazon’s procurements last year, the company has continued making solar deals in 2021.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 11, 2021

Amazon is on a path to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of its original target of 2030."

Richard, how could Amazon possibly run on 100% renewable energy - ever? Will they close their doors on cloudy days, when the wind isn't blowing?
I know there's some creative bookkeeping going on that attempts to justify these absurd claims, I'm just trying to find out why anyone would lend credence to them. Thanks!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 11, 2021

Those ten are: Amazon, Google, Verizon, McDonald's, Facebook, GM, Nucor, Evraz North America, Lowe's, Nestle

Interesting to try and see what commonalities they may have that could provide insight into what other companies can/should follow the lead. The most immediate and obvious trend is big tech companies, but seeing large players in retail (Lowe's), food production (Nestle), and restaurants (McDonald's) shows some compelling diversity. I wonder if the smaller players in those three areas will be trying to play catchup? 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 11, 2021

"In its second-annual Deal Tracker Top 10 report, REBA found that U.S. corporations once again showcased their resolve and commitment to renewable energy with a record-breaking 10.6 GW of contracted capacity."

Matt, "10.6 GW of contracted capacity" makes no sense. Any measurement in watts is a measurement of an energy rate of transfer - in this case, 10.6 billion joules per second.

Does that mean these corporations have contracted solar farms for 10.6 billion joules per second whenever they need it, or only when the sun is shining? If a cloud is covering the sun and only 5.3 joules per second are available, can they sue for breach of contract?

Of course not. Here's what it means: we have a source, pv-magazine-usa.com, with its writers spouting gibberish in units of electricity of which they have no understanding, so that they can sell pay-per-click ads, so big corporations can bask in a fake green glow, and so solar salesmen can sell more panels (the commonality is they're all lying).

For smaller tech companies/food producers/restaurants, playing catchup is simple: put out a press release saying "Popeye's Chicken Runs on 100% Renewable Energy." Piece of cake!

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 11, 2021

Matt, "10.6 GW of contracted capacity" makes no sense. Any measurement in watts is a measurement of an energy rate of transfer - in this case, 10.6 billion joules per second.

Does that mean these corporations have contracted solar farms for 10.6 billion joules per second whenever they need it, or only when the sun is shining? If a cloud is covering the sun and only 5.3 joules per second are available, can they sue for breach of contract?

It's actually not complicated. If Amazon entered into a contract with a 1 MW solar farm or wind farm, that means they've agreed to pay for the production that will come from that solar farm or wind farm. With the uncertainty in exact capacity factor inherent in these energy sources, it will obviously not be a constantly available 1 MW. But their contract is on the production that does come from those facilities. So they aren't saying "give us 500 MWh for this price" they're saying "whatever your XX MW facility generates, we'll buy." Hence the reference to the GW of contracted capacity. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 11, 2021

I see. So, depending on capacity factor at specific facilities, what they actually receive will be ~20% of that, or 2.12 GW of actual generation.

So it's not really "100% renewable energy by 2025", but "100% of 20% renewable energy by 2025." Correct?
 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 12, 2021

I'm certainly not privy to their accounting books, but I would guess they're not simply saying "our power needs at a given moment are 10.6 GW so if we contract 10.6 GW of renewable farms then we're 100%! I would expect them more to play with the accounting balances to say OK we used X GWh of power this year, we already paid for Y GWh from those farms so now we're going to try to buy some sort of REC or offset equivalent to X-Y.

Of course, that accounting balance practice is fully and fairly open to criticism, but I'm just saying I don't think the argument is as simple as 'Ha Amazon doesn't know the different between MW and MWh!'

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 12, 2021

I knew it would all come down to some sort of "offset equivalent"  or "renewable energy certificate". 
Whether Amazon understands the difference between MW and MWh is irrelevant. Any company that forces their employees to pee in plastic bottles to meet fulfillment requirements will stop at nothing to promote their business - even if it means lying to the public about the CO2 they're emitting.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission understands why RECs are a lie, and has even released guidelines for companies which explain why "100% renewable" plans amounts to fraudulent advertising. It's illegal - but unprosecuted. FTC is only interested in prosecuting fraud where damages can be proved in court, and to anyone who wants to try to prove to a jury they've been damaged by climate change, I wish the best of luck.*
I post here, on blogs, and elsewhere, because I feel obligated to share my experience with the big lie that is "green energy". Right now there is no other way to hold its purveyors accountable, if only in the public eye. For the sake of future generations, I hope that changes, and sooner than later.

*In 2017 climatologist James Hansen submitted testimony in Juliana vs. the United States, a federal lawsuit on behalf of kids against the U.S. for failing to take effective action against climate change. The case made it to the US Court of Appeals before it was thrown out by a Trump-appointed judge.

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