Introducing CFEscore, a valuable resource for your journey to carbon-free energy! A CFEscore is essentially a metric showing how much of your electricity load is served with carbon-free electricity on an hourly basis.
Companies are ramping up their sustainability commitments. This trend is giving rise to more ambitious renewable procurement strategies and targets with shorter timelines. In recent years, 100 percent renewable purchasing (annual matching) or RE100 has been the goal for climate-conscious corporations. However, a new gold standard in renewable procurement is emerging. 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy (CFE) is now ready to take centre stage as the go-to renewable procurement strategy for climate leaders.
Why is my CFEscore important?
As you’re an ambitious company striving for more sustainable operations, at the end of the year (or monthly), you might receive an amount of Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), i.e. Guarantees of Origin, Renewable Energy Certificates, I-RECs, etc) that covers a portion of or all of your electricity consumption.
But is that enough? Would purchasing 100 percent renewable energy prove that your electricity consumption is fully carbon-free?
Unfortunately, the answer is complicated. From a contractual and regulatory point of view, you will be renewable. In your Scope 2 reporting, you can claim zero emissions from electricity during the entire year. But from a ‘reality point of view’, to properly evaluate the carbon content of your purchased electricity, the physical realities of the electrical grid need to be considered.
This is where the CFEscore proves useful. Its calculation allows you to take the physical operation of the grid into account. It factors in the synchronicity and locationality of electricity consumption and production. Therefore, it provides a unique, first estimation on top of the standard carbon accounting metrics.
What is Electricity Synchronicity (or Temporal Correlation)?
Electricity synchronicity or temporal correlation defines how your electricity consumption and renewable production are matched, typically on an hourly basis. But why is it important? This can be explained briefly with an example.
Let's assume you only source your electricity from solar, but you have the majority of your consumption at night. In this case, you can be sure that the physical electricity you are buying isn’t actually consumed by your company. It’s impossible for nighttime electricity load to be temporally correlated with daytime solar electricity production (without energy storage). On the physical grid, the nighttime load will likely be served by a combination of natural gas and coal power plants, nuclear, and wind turbines (varying by country).
It’s difficult to understand how this impacts your company without granular, accurate data. For this reason, intelligence over your hourly consumption and production data is crucial. It allows you to start making more insightful and conscious procurement decisions. With access to this data, you can start tailoring your procurement strategy and work towards achieving the highest electricity synchronicity score possible. To understand what energy software solutions are available to track energy data, read this article.
Overall, you need to evaluate the amount of electricity you’ve sourced which was produced exactly at consumption. This will be the primary evaluation used to calculate your true carbon-free electricity score (CFEscore).
Key questions to answer:
- When was my electricity produced?
- When was my electricity consumed?
- How much do they overlap on an hourly basis?
What is Locationality (or Geographic Correlation)?
Locationality or geographical correlation defines how your electricity consumption and renewable production is matched in terms of location (i.e on the same grid). But why is it important? Physical electrons are impossible to track. However, there is a difference between sourcing your electricity from your local grid/country, and not doing so.
For example, let's assume you get your EACs from Norway, but consume electricity in Spain. In this scenario, you can be certain that the electricity produced hasn’t actually physically flowed into your location. Consequently, your procurement strategy won’t serve to reduce location-based emissions. This is why location-based reporting is important. Procuring local renewable energy will bring benefits to both local emissions and the local economy. This will further improve your environmental impact and sustainability reporting.
International sources that inject electricity into different grids should be avoided when calculating the 24/7 CFEscore. If included, they should be flagged for consistency. The goal of 24/7 CFE should be to incentivise investments in the local environment.
Key questions to answer:
- Where was my electricity produced?
- Where was my electricity consumed?
- Are they in the same electricity grid?
So where do you stand in all this? How can you assess your current 24/7 CFEscore? How far are you from reaching 100 percent 24/7 carbon-free electricity procurement?
At FlexiDAO, we strive to simplify cumbersome processes and allow energy and sustainability professionals to make more powerful and insightful decisions through digitalisation.
Our latest tool CFEscore allows you to answer all the questions posed in this article. Ultimately, it will empower you to start thinking about the next improvements to your renewable electricity procurement strategy.
Steps to calculating your CFEscore:
- Input your total electricity consumption per European country*
- Estimate your hourly consumption curve based on your industry
- Input source of your green electricity: green tariffs, PPAs, renewable energy certificates, etc.
- Estimate your RE100 score based on the EACs that you receive at the end of the year
- Estimate your CFEscore and understand how 24/7 Carbon-Free you actually are
* We constantly add new countries. Sign up to our email newsletter for more information.
The calculator gives you a summary of where you stand today both in terms of RE100 and 24/7 CFE - and provides you with a strong foundation to assess your next steps in energy procurement.
You might think that you should first focus on achieving 100 percent renewable energy annually before adopting a more ambitious 24/7 CFE strategy. However, this isn’t necessary. The 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy approach doesn’t have to start when you reach 100 percent renewable.
Companies will already have a CFEscore somewhere between 0 and 100 percent. So you only need to calculate it and get started!
24/7 CFE electricity procurement isn't the end goal, but it’s an underlying characteristic of your electricity procurement process. Let us accompany you on your journey to 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy (CFE) and build the future today! Use CFEscore and start your journey today, or book a demo to learn more about RESpring.