Future Cost-Competitive Electricity Systems And Their Impact On US CO2 Emissions

 

Future Cost-Competitive Electricity Systems and Their Impact on US CO2 Emissions, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in the Nature Climate Change journal, models the benefits of constructing a nationwide HVDC transmission network designed to tap into renewable and other low-carbon resources geographically dispersed throughout the country. Under such a network design, approximately 60 percent of U.S. power sector electricity could be generated from wind and solar resources alone. The study analyzes the emission reduction potential of the transmission network shown above under three scenarios:

  • A high-cost renewable and low-cost natural gas (HRLG) scenario;
  • A low-cost renewable and high-cost gas (LRHG) scenario in which the US achieves future; expected cost reductions for renewable energy and sees increased demand for natural gas; and
  • A mid-cost renewable and mid-cost natural gas (MRMG) scenario, which averages the HRLG and LRHG scenarios.

With new HVDC lines to access resources more efficiently, the HRLG, MRMG and LRHG scenarios are expected to reduce power sector emissions by 33 percent, 61 percent, and 78 percent, respectively, compared to 1990 levels. Additionally, consumers are expected to save as much as $47.2 billion annually under the LRHG scenario, which is roughly the equivalent of a 10 percent reduction in electric bills or roughly three times the cost of the HVDC transmission builds per year.

 

Future Cost-Competitive Electricity Systems And Their Impact On US CO2 Emissions

 

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