USA: DOE Releases Solar Futures Study Providing the Blueprint for a Zero-Carbon Grid
- Sep 8, 2021 4:17 pm GMT
New Report Shows Solar Energy Rapidly Expands, Generating More Electricity in 2035 than All Homes Consume Today and Creating Economic Opportunities Across America
“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the
In 2020, the
The study lays out the blueprint for achieving this milestone, which requires strong decarbonization polices coupled with a massive deployment of renewable energy sources, large-scale electrification, and grid modernization. The study’s key findings include:
- A clean grid requires massive, equitable deployment of diverse, sustainable energy sources — The
U.S.must install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025 and 60 GW per year from 2025-2030. The study’s modeling further shows the remainder of a carbon-free grid largely supplied by wind (36%), nuclear (11%-13%), hydroelectric (5%-6%) and biopower/geothermal (1%).
- A decarbonized power sector will create millions of cross-sector jobs – The study modeling shows that solar will employ 500,000 to 1.5 million people across the country by 2035. And overall, the clean energy transition will generate around 3 million jobs across technologies.
- New tools that increase grid flexibility, like storage and advanced inverters, as well as transmission expansion, will help to move solar energy to all pockets of America – Wind and solar combined will provide 75% of electricity by 2035 and 90% by 2050, transforming the electricity system. The deployment of storage enables more flexibility and resilience, growing from 30 GW to nearly 400 GW in 2035 and 1,700 GW in 2050. Advanced tools like grid-forming inverters, forecasting, and microgrids will play a role in maintaining the reliability and performance a renewable-dominant grid.
- A renewable-based grid will create significant health and cost savings – Reduced carbon emissions and improved air quality result in savings of
$1.1 trillionto $1.7 trillion, far outweighing the additional costs incurred from transitioning to clean energy. The projected price of electricity for consumers does not rise by 2035, because the costs are fully offset by savings from technological improvements.
- Supportive decarbonization policies and advanced technologies are needed to further reduce the cost of solar energy —Without some combination of limits on carbon emissions and mechanisms to incentivize clean energy, the
U.S.cannot fully decarbonize the grid—models show that grid emissions fall only 60% without policy. Continued technological advances that lower the cost of solar energy are also necessary to enable widespread solar deployment.
DIG IN: Interactive data viewer and full report.
Learn more about
No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.
Get Published - Build a Following
The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.
If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.