Clean Energy Buyers Institute Launches Decarbonizing Initiative

by | Mar 30, 2022

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The Clean Energy Buyers Institute (CEBI) has launched the Decarbonizing Industrial Supply Chain Energy (DISC-e) initiative, which tackles industrial sector greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by leveraging energy customer-driven demand for clean energy and Scope 3 emission reductions. Energy customers have driven 47 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity between 2014 and 2021 and are increasingly considering how procurement can further optimize emissions reductions and impacts. The DISC-e initiative is focused on three key impact areas:

  • Decarbonizing clean energy supply chains: Raising awareness and developing tools to decarbonize the solar photovoltaic (PV) supply chain as the industry rapidly scales capacity.
  • Empowering customers to decarbonize building materials: Developing resources to advance low-carbon building material procurement practices and catalyze related markets.
  • Unlocking clean energy procurement for steel: Addressing barriers to clean energy procurement for the single largest industrial commodity source of global emissions.

“Industrial decarbonization is critical to averting the impacts of climate change,” said Mark Porter, Vice President of Programs at the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance, in a press release. “There is an opportunity for energy customers and energy developers to partner together to further optimize the positive impact of clean energy procurement by addressing emissions across the solar supply chain.”

In addition to GHG emissions from energy generation, every energy source has carbon emissions associated with the equipment used to generate the energy – emissions from materials extraction, equipment manufacturing, and installation, which is referred to as upfront embodied carbon. While renewable energy has significantly lower emissions than traditional non-renewable sources, addressing the upfront embodied carbon within the solar photovoltaic (PV) supply chain has emerged as a key priority in positioning the energy industry for sustainable growth. Energy customers that leverage solar PV to meet climate and energy goals could help avoid an additional 14 – 18 gigatons of embodied carbon emissions by taking no-cost actions as they evaluate renewable energy projects and procure low carbon solar PV generation equipment.

The Low-Carbon Solar program is part of the Decarbonizing Industrial Supply Chain Energy initiative that supports energy customers with educational resources to develop an understanding of solar PV supply chain emissions, collaborate with industry stakeholders to optimize the environmental impact of new solar installations, and accelerate the uptake of low-carbon solar. The initiative has published a suite of resources developed in partnership with stakeholders along the solar supply chain to catalyze the demand for low-carbon solar, including:

  • A Low-Carbon Solar Primer that introduces solar PV supply chain challenges and opportunities with no-cost actions energy customers can take now.
  • A Letter of Intent for supply chain stakeholders to signal their collective intent to prioritize low-carbon materials.
  • A Request for Proposal (RFP) Guide with recommendations for energy customers on how to integrate low-carbon preferences into clean energy procurement.
  • An Introduction to Embodied Carbon Analysis that delves into key terminology and institutional frameworks related to low-carbon solar.

CEBI says that solar energy is expected to grow significantly over the upcoming decade with new solar installations forecasted to triple by 2030. As the energy transition moves full-steam toward a carbon-free electricity system, now is the moment to leverage market demand to establish low-carbon norms that truly optimize emissions.

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