Full Title: Clean Energy Future Technical Review
Author(s): Spencer Fields, Patrick Luckow, and Tommy Vitolo
Publisher(s): Synapse Energy Economics
Publication Date: July 1, 2015
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Synapse conducted an analysis of the impacts of a clean energy future on electric-sector emissions and costs. In this technical review, we document the data, assumptions, and results related to modeling the emissions reductions of the scenario as compared to a reference scenario. We refer to the scenarios throughout this document as the “Clean Energy Future scenario” and “Reference scenario.” The Reference scenario is a no-new-policy scenario in which existing state renewable portfolio standards are met but not expanded. New load is met largely by new gas-fired generating capacity, and the existing fleet of coal-fired and nuclear plants are retrofit to continue operating.
The Clean Energy Future scenario represents a substantial shift towards renewables as the costs of these technologies continue to decline and incentives are put in place to encourage adoption. Aggressive energy efficiency policies reduce demand by 1,344 terawatt-hours (TWh) as compared to the Reference scenario in 2040, and the expansion of electric vehicles reduces emissions in the transport sector as well.
Our analysis relies on the Renewable Energy Development System (ReEDS) model, a tool designed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for long-term analysis of the development of the electric power sector. We updated several of the default assumptions in the ReEDS model based on recent research. This report documents those assumptions and provides a high-level overview of the results.