Category: Podcast

Volts Podcast: Grid-scale batteries do not currently reduce emissions. Here’s how they could.

A conversation with Jacob Mansfield & Emma Konet of Tierra Climate.

Volts’ David Roberts sits down with Tierra Climate’s co-founders to discuss how the company is focusing on incentivizing emissions-reducing behavior in batteries by making it an eligible carbon offset.

Listen to the full podcast here, or download a full PDF transcript below.

Episode Summary from David Roberts

It is widely understood that decarbonizing the grid will require a large amount of energy storage. What is much less widely understood is that batteries on the grid today are generally not reducing carbon emissions — indeed, their day-to-day operation often has the effect of increasing them.

Yes, you heard me right: most batteries on today’s grid are responsible for net positive carbon emissions.

I was quite disturbed when I first found out about this, mostly through the research of Eric Hittinger at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and I wrote a piece on it on Vox way back in 2018.

Contemporary research suggests that nothing has changed in the ensuing five years — most batteries still behave in a way that increases emissions. But a new startup called Tierra Climate is trying to change that. It wants to incentivize emission-reducing behavior in batteries by making it an eligible carbon offset.

Just as a renewable energy producers can make extra money through the sale of renewable energy credits (RECs), battery operators could make extra money through the sale of carbon offsets on the voluntary market — but only if they change the way they operate.

It’s an intriguing idea and the only real solution I’ve seen proposed to a problem that no one else is even talking about. So I wanted to chat with founders Jacob Mansfield and Emma Konet about why batteries increase emissions today, what incentive they would need to change their behavior, and what’s required to set up an offset product. And yes, I recall that Volts recently featured an episode extremely critical of carbon offsets — we’ll get into that too.

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Climate Positive Podcast: Going Beyond Megawatt Hour Matching

Climate Positive Podcast

Last month, HASI’s Chad Reed was joined by REsurety’s Lee Taylor, TCR’s Hank He, GM’s Rob Threlkeld, and Putnam Investments’ Katherine Collins to participate in a panel at the GreenFin 23 event. The discussion revolved around the need to move beyond megawatt hour matching and towards carbon matching. This episode of Climate Positive is a recording of that discussion.

Listen to the full podcast here or on Spotify, or download a PDF of the transcript below.

Episode Summary

For several years, well-intentioned companies seeking to reduce their emissions from electricity consumption – a primary component of their Scope 2 emissions – have bought Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). Known as energy or megawatt hour matching, this approach, which forms the backbone of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 2 Market-Based Method accounting system, does not distinguish the time, location or emissions profile of a company’s electricity consumption from that of its REC and PPA interventions to offset this consumption.

But as different grids have decarbonized at different rates over the years, the emissions impact of a REC purchased or PPA signed in one location at a particular time no longer necessarily has a similar impact to RECs purchased or PPAs signed in different locations at different times. In essence, at least as it pertains to carbon impact, not every megawatt hour is created equal.

In this episode, recorded at the GreenFin 23 Conference in Boston, Chad leads a panel of industry experts – including Katherine Collins of Putnam Investments; Hank He of Tabors Caramanis Rudkevich; Lee Taylor of REsurety; and Rob Threlkeld of General Motors – on the deficiencies of energy matching, the benefits of a new approach known as carbon matching and the resulting implications for ongoing efforts to reform Scope 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

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The Interchange Recharged Podcast: GHG Accounting Reform Could Transform Energy Investment

In this episode of The Interchange Recharged, David Banmiller is joined by AWS’ Jake Oster and Meta’s Peter Freed to discuss the goals of the Emissions First Partnership and why updating carbon accounting standards is so important.

Listen to the podcast here or on Spotify, or download a full PDF transcript below.

Episode Summary

Changes to the way emissions are reported will have a big impact on renewable investment.

It might be the most important piece of sustainability material in corporate and climate work that no one’s ever heard of, and it drives a huge amount of corporate behavior.

In 1998, the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard launched, and set out a standard for businesses to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions. Like financial accounting standards, the GHG Protocol influences corporate behavior such as investment decisions. So, a planned revision of the rules for reporting Scope 2 emissions is a significant event. The new standard, expected to take effect in 2025, could have a big impact on corporate investment in low-carbon energy around the world.

Now, a consortium of some of the world’s biggest funders of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, such as Amazon and Meta, are looking to refine the current rules with the goal of increasing the accuracy of reporting. Together with 8 other companies, including Intel and Heineken, they’ve co-founded the Emissions First Partnership, which is advocating for changes to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Host David Banmiller is joined by Jake Oster, Director of Energy and Environmental Policy at Amazon Web Services, and Peter Freed, Head of Energy Strategy at Meta, to explain the goals of the EFP and why updating accounting standards is so important.

The EFP says that changes to the GHG Protocol Scope 2 emissions reporting is a crucial step to addressing the climate crisis and decarbonizing the power system. Investment in new renewable technologies from corporates, as a result of the accounting standards being updated in the past decade, is increasing.

Pre 2015, before the current market-based methodology was in place, there was about a gigawatt of installed capacity coming from PPAs. Today, there’s more than 100. The pace of progress in the energy transition is accelerating as reporting standards are refined and the EFP aims to continue this progress.

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Climate Positive Podcast: Integrating Emissionality into the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Climate Positive Podcast

In this episode of Climate Positive, HASI’s Chad Reed and Brendan Herron sit down with Faraz Ahmad, Head of Net Zero Grid at Amazon, to discuss the Emissions First Partnership and how underserved regions could benefit from an emissions first energy transition approach.

Listen to the podcast here, or read the transcript below.

Episode Summary

More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies report their emissions using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP), which supplies the world’s most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standards. But despite significant advances in data analytics around emissions measurement, it’s been nearly a decade since the GHGP was last updated. Thankfully, the NGOs that manage the GHGP recently kicked off the update process, soliciting feedback from stakeholders across the spectrum.

In this episode, Chad Reed and HASI Strategic Advisor Brendan Herron speak with Faraz Ahmad, Head of Net Zero Grid for Amazon. Faraz dives deep into the efforts of the Emissions First Partnership, a consortium of companies working together to reduce their emissions with the most impactful clean energy projects and to move away from megawatt hour matching and toward integration of an emissions-based framework into the GHGP. Faraz also discusses how underserved regions – both across the globe and within the U.S. itself – could economically benefit from an emissions first approach to the energy transition.

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