Google, Microsoft, and Nucor Corporation announced they will work together across the electricity ecosystem to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for advanced clean electricity technologies.

These models are intended to accelerate the development of “first-of-a-kind” and early commercial projects, including advanced nuclear, next-generation geothermal, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage (LDES), and more. As a first step, the companies will issue an RFI 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 decarbonize grids. These technologies can fill gaps in wind and solar production and support reliability.

However, the companies note that these 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, the companies hope to reduce the risks for utilities and developers considering early commercial projects and enable the investments that are needed – ultimately helping to bring these projects online by the early 2030s and reducing technology costs through repeated deployment.

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: signing offtake agreements for technologies 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. 

Google, Microsoft, and Nucor will share their lessons learned and the roadmap from their first pilot projects, and encourage other companies to consider how they can also support advanced clean electricity projects.

Originally published in Renewable Energy World.

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