The US electricity grid could cut its reliance on coal, shut down a quarter of existing nuclear reactors and still run reliably backed by renewable energy sources by 2050.
A new report by Synapse Energy Economics for the Civil Society Institute has found that in a 2050 US energy scenario, with a heavy reliance on renewables, regional electricity generation supply could meet or exceed demand in 99.4% of hours, with load being met without imports from other regions and without turning to storage.
Grant Smith, Senior Energy Analyst at the Civil Society Institute said: “This study shows that the US electricity grid could integrate and balance many times the current level of renewables with no additional reliability issues. Recent improvements in both renewable technologies themselves and in the technologies that are used to control and balance the grid have been proceeding at a rapid pace and the incentives and rewards for success in this area continue to drive substantial progress.”
The report follows a 2011 study which showed a ‘Transition Scenario, where the US retires all of its coal plants and a quarter of its nuclear plants by 2050 and moves towards a system based on energy efficiency and renewable energy.