ORIGINAL REPORTING: The Critical Net Zero Challenges
US can reach 100% clean power by 2035, DOE finds, but tough reliability and land use questions lie ahead; New aggressive planning is needed to identify the long-duration storage technologies and find the land to grow enough resources to reach Biden net zero emissions goals, a DOE national lab reports.
Herman K. Trabish, November 15, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The challenges to a coming growth now abundantly funded by Biden-driven legislation are bigger than ever.
Four major viable paths to a net zero emissions “clean electricity” power system by 2035 “in which benefits exceed costs” are detailed in an August study by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, or NREL.
But it does not explain how adequate land to reach a 90% clean electricity penetration can be acquired or how reliability will be protected beyond that 90% penetration, stakeholders acknowledged.
Today’s clean energy technologies can take the U.S. “to about 90% emissions reductions because of reduced costs and our maturing understanding of renewables and storage,” said Paul Denholm, DOE principal energy analyst and study co-lead author. But “90% is a proxy for where we don’t know what resource or multiple resources will be needed for reliability,” he said.
Markets may resolve uncertainties about long-duration energy storage, or LDES, technologies for reliability, DOE and storage analysts agreed. But resolving the continuing local opposition to building new infrastructure will require smarter planning, environmentalists said.
“Most people have not yet envisioned the coming scale of development and local permitting and siting challenges,” agreed Nicole Hill, project lead on The Nature Conservancy, or TNC, report Power of Place – West. But TNC’s new planning approach of “working slowly and responsibly now to be able to go faster later,” can achieve both climate and conservation goals, she said.
The full scale of needed infrastructure growth may be hard to envision, but new federal, state and utility LDES technology investments and proposed planning policy innovations are taking on the uncertainty, DOE’s Denholm and other analysts said. The four paths to a 100% clean power sector by 2035, even with 66% higher demand from transportation and building electrification, can lead to a net zero emissions economy by 2050, the NREL study said… click here for more
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