Todd Aagaard


In the face of the rapidly escalating climate crisis, the electricity sector is moving toward renewable energy. To date, policies and strategies have focused on increasing overall renewable energy generation, with little regard for timing and location. The result has been a misalignment of supply and demand in renewable energy markets. Renewable power projects produce energy when and where it is least expensive, leaving supply scarce at other times and places. Consumers, meanwhile, continue to use power when and where they need it. This mismatch increases the electricity grid’s dependence on fossil fuel–fired electricity to meet electricity demand at times and places when renewable power remains scarce. For electricity consumers to escape their dependence on carbon-emitting energy sources, renewable energy markets must incentivize generation of power when and where people and businesses need electricity. Policies and strategies that employ the emerging concept of 24/7 clean energy can address the existing mismatch by aligning generation and usage on an hourly basis so that renewable energy meets the full electricity needs of the U.S. economy. This Article explains how existing renewable energy policies and strategies have created a mismatch between renewable energy generation and use; how that misalignment distorts renewable energy markets and impedes efforts to decarbonize the electricity sector; how 24/7 clean energy can address the misalignment problem; and how policies and strategies can support the development of 24/7 clean energy.