The Key to Becoming Carbon Negative

February 9, 2022 5:37 pm

February 9, 2022

We hear a lot about the desire for carbon neutrality these days, and while that’s noble indeed, we at EVCS have set our sights on even loftier goals. Our mission is to become carbon negative, meaning not only have we reduced carbon emissions to negligible levels, but we have offset more carbon than we contribute to the environment through techniques like avoidance, sequestration and carbon capture.

So, how does one go about achieving such a monumental task? 

The first step is committing to power-based 100% on renewables like solar, wind and geothermal. One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the EV industry is the notion that we’re simply trading one environmentally harmful source for another – the vehicle for the power plant. And while it’s true that worldwide carbon negativity won’t be fully realized until renewables become mainstream replacements for fossil fuels, individual companies like EVCS can facilitate the trend by committing to use only renewable energy to power its network.

While making the commitment certainly is critical, executing is a whole different story. The current lack of widespread grids powered by renewables means we have to purchase our electricity from renewable energy producers through credit offsets, even as the actual power may still be flowing (for now) from a traditional power grid. While this comes with added costs, it also means we’re investing in companies that share our mission of a healthier planet and are integral in “greening” a key part of the energy supply chain.

This setup has many advantages. It allows us to essentially utilize 100% renewable energy for every charger in our network regardless of where it’s installed and retain top-notch fast-charging capabilities without the need for expensive and complex renewable energy generation systems. Moreover, once a network operator like EVCS receives accreditation from its governing body for using 100% renewable energy to power operations, it’s able to issue its own carbon credits, which can in turn be sold to offset the increased costs of purchasing renewable energy.

Bolstering our argument for the use of renewables to achieve carbon negativity are studied by numerous groups and organizations that have documented the benefits. While the total number of carbon offsets issued is relatively small worldwide (about 250 million tons worth were issued in 2020), the market is growing significantly as renewable energy sources grow, with nearly three times as many offsets issued in 2020 as in 2015, according to opentaps.org. Moreover, analysts with German bank Berenberg believe that current trends are leading to a global carbon offset market of some $200 billion by 2050.

On average, offset prices stand at about $4 per metric ton, which some fear are too low to provide companies with sufficient financial incentive to reduce emissions. However, a joint study published last year by University College London and Trove Research concluded, according to GreenBiz, that “the current surplus of carbon offset credits could be quickly eroded, with demand expected to increase fivefold or even tenfold over the next decade as companies seek to deliver on their net zero emissions pledges. As such, prices could rise to $50 per metric ton by 2030.”

All of this is to say that the momentum for achieving carbon negativity through the use of renewables is accelerating, with EVCS already serving as a key leader and motivator of the movement in the EV space. More importantly, none of these changes have adversely affected the quality, service and cost savings we offer our customers. Quite the contrary. Our expansion into viable new frontiers like this has allowed us the opportunity to demonstrate how high-quality/low-cost service and responsible, sustainable mobility can coexist perfectly.

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