February 6, 2021 12:06 AM Subscribe
New study: A zero-emissions US is now pretty cheap (pdf) - "In 2050, benefits to the US offset costs, but there are some unexpected outcomes."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C points to the need for carbon neutrality by mid‐century. Achieving this in the United States in only 30 years will be challenging, and practical pathways detailing the technologies, infrastructure, costs, and tradeoffs involved are needed. Modeling the entire U.S. energy and industrial system with new analysis tools that capture synergies not represented in sector‐specific or integrated assessment models, we created multiple pathways to net zero and net negative CO2 emissions by 2050. They met all forecast U.S. energy needs at a net cost of 0.2–1.2% of GDP in 2050, using only commercial or near‐commercial technologies, and requiring no early retirement of existing infrastructure. Pathways with constraints on consumer behavior, land use, biomass use, and technology choices (e.g., no nuclear) met the target but at higher cost. All pathways employed four basic strategies: energy efficiency, decarbonized electricity, electrification, and carbon capture. Least‐cost pathways were based on >80% wind and solar electricity plus thermal generation for reliability. A 100% renewable primary energy system was feasible but had higher cost and land use. We found multiple feasible options for supplying low‐carbon fuels for non‐electrifiable end uses in industry, freight, and aviation, which were not required in bulk until after 2035. In the next decade, the actions required in all pathways were similar: expand renewable capacity 3.5 fold, retire coal, maintain existing gas generating capacity, and increase electric vehicle and heat pump sales to >50% of market share. This study provides a playbook for carbon neutrality policy with concrete near‐term priorities.also btw...
- Debt Is No Reason to Fear Trillions in Green Spending - "The investment is modest compared with other major infrastructure projects in U.S. history, and these projects will give back more than they cost."
- Solar power now cheapest way to add electricity in many markets - and getting cheaper - "Solar's advantage continues to grow - even without subsidies or environmental initiatives."
- A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry (nyt) - "G.E.'s giant machine, which can light up a small town, is stoking a renewable-energy arms race."
- South Korea unveils $43 billion plan for world's largest offshore wind farm - "The project is a major component of President Moon Jae-in's Green New Deal, initiated last year to curb reliance on fossil fuels in Asia's fourth-largest economy and make it carbon neutral by 2050... The envisaged 8.2 GW amounts to the energy produced by six nuclear reactors, or the effects of planting 71 million pine trees, officials said. To date, the world's largest offshore wind farm is Hornsea 1 in Britain, which has 1.12 GW capacity."
- Denmark to construct artificial island as a wind energy hub - "The construction project, believed to be the biggest in Danish history, will link hundreds of wind turbines to deliver enough electricity for millions of households... The decision came as the EU unveiled plans to transform the bloc's electricity supply. The bloc aims to rely mostly on renewable energy within a decade while increasing offshore wind energy capacity roughly 25-fold by mid-century."
- Squamish Nation moves Vancouver forward with transformative Senakw project - "By the end of this year, site preparation for construction could begin on the Senakw development, squeezed into the area around the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge in Vancouver. Squamish First Nation members overwhelmingly voted to approve the massive development on their 12-acre Kitsilano reserve in late 2019. Thus allowing band leaders to seal the partnership with local developer Westbank and continue their work with refining the design concept." (viz. cf.)
The cost of solar power has dropped 90% over the last two decades,[*] and will likely fall another 15% to 25% in the decade to come, says Wood Mackenzie. By 2030, solar will become the cheapest source of new power in every US state, plus Canada, China, and 14 other nations.
Wood Mackenzie’s latest report Total eclipse: How falling costs will secure solar’s dominance in power calls the solar power industry “highly investible” due to its growing ability to meet both economic and policy goals...
Solar is already the cheapest form of new electricity generation in 16 US states, plus Spain, Italy and India. Even with the Covid-19 pandemic raging, global installations exceeded 115 gigawatts (GW) in 2020, compared to 1.5 GW in 2006...
Wood Mackenzie stresses that its outlook only factored in technological improvements that are already well into the commercial development pipeline. The projections do not assume any breakthroughs in next-generation solar technology or other innovations, which could provide further upside to the outlook.
A larger turbine produces more electricity and, thus, more revenue than a smaller machine. Size also helps reduce the costs of building and maintaining a wind farm because fewer turbines are required to produce a given amount of power.
These qualities create a powerful incentive for developers to go for the largest machine available to aid their efforts to win the auctions for offshore power supply deals that many countries have adopted. These auctions vary in format, but developers compete to provide power over a number of years for the lowest price.
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