SEPA Releases Framework for Increasing Carbon Reduction Impacts

Supported by Google, Microsoft & Xcel Energy, “Tiers of Electricity Decarbonization” identifies actions with the greatest carbon-reduction impacts

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To support businesses, governments, and utilities as they set targets to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) releases a new paper introducing a framework for identifying actions with the greatest carbon-reduction impacts.


"While all carbon-reduction actions help to reduce the impacts of climate change, entities of all types are increasingly asking which actions are most effective," said Janet Gail Besser, vice president, regulatory and business innovation at the Smart Electric Power Alliance. "By identifying 'tiers of decarbonization,' this paper helps accelerate progress towards a carbon-free energy future. Now is the time to act!"

No one-size-fits-all solution exists for all entities. They can take a variety of actions to drive electricity sector decarbonization, yielding varying levels of emission reductions, depending on their geographic, temporal, and grid contexts. Some carbon-reduction actions are not available to all entities, and entities often hold other mission-critical objectives, such as advancing equity or driving economic development, which can influence the path they pursue.

To assist in this complex decision-making environment, SEPA gathered and distilled feedback from a variety of entities who are acting to reduce carbon emissions, including utilities, large energy consumers, local governments, and electricity suppliers. These entities included Google, Microsoft, Xcel Energy, Austin Energy, ConEd, Consumers Energy, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, National Grid, City of Boston, City of Des Moines, Harvard Office for Sustainability, Iron Mountain Data Centers, and Peninsula Clean Energy.

"At Google, we know that our approach to clean energy can catalyze benefits beyond our own operations, and that is why we have designed our 24/7 carbon-free energy strategy to maximize our impact on grid-level decarbonization," said Caroline Golin, global head of energy market development and policy at Google. "We are pleased to support SEPA in developing this practical framework for evaluating the effects of carbon reduction actions, which provides a
useful new tool for energy users and providers to increase the impact of their carbon-reduction strategies."

The paper outlines a five-step process for developing or reviewing a carbon-reduction plan, as well as two illustrative examples. Entities can use the framework to develop their initial action plans, and then conduct further research and analyses to find their own pathway to progress through the tiers of decarbonization.

"Xcel Energy is proud to drive towards being a net-zero energy provider and key to that commitment is continuing to offer voluntary options for customers to manage their own clean energy transition," said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy - Colorado. "As board chair of SEPA, I'm delighted that this report highlights a variety of ideas and options for customers to consider on this journey."

The paper, Tiers of Electricity Decarbonization, presents a foundation to catalyze action and is available to the public.

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