Google, Microsoft, and Nucor in new aggregating initiative

26 March 2024

Google LLC, Microsoft Corp, and Nucor Corp have announced that they will work together across the electricity ecosystem to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for advanced clean electricity technologies. These models will be designed to accelerate the development of first-of-a-kind (FOAK) and early commercial projects, including advanced nuclear, next-generation geothermal, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage (LDES) and others. As a first step, the companies will issue an RFI (request for information) in several US regions for potential projects in need of offtake, and encourage technology providers, developers, investors, utilities and others interested in responding to get in touch.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), firm, dispatchable clean electricity technologies and advanced energy storage systems are needed to cost-effectively decarbonise grids and help the world meet its growing electricity demand with carbon-free energy sources. These advanced clean electricity technologies can fill gaps in wind and solar production and support grid reliability – needs that today are still being met by fossil fuel generation.

But advanced clean electricity technologies face challenges, in part because the novelty and risk of early projects make it difficult to secure the financing they need. By developing new commercial structures and aggregating demand from three of the world's largest energy buyers, this approach aims to reduce the risks for utilities and developers considering early commercial projects and enable the investments that are needed.

The companies will initially focus on proving the demand aggregation and procurement model through advanced technology pilot projects in the United States. The companies will pilot a project delivery framework focused on three enabling levers for early commercial projects: signing offtake agreements for technologies that are still early on the cost curve, bringing a clear customer voice to policymakers and other stakeholders on broader long-term ecosystem improvements, and developing new enabling tariff structures in partnership with energy providers and utilities. 

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