Pathways toward Grid Decarbonization
New modeling illuminates opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the US electric power sector
The power sector is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States—accounting for a quarter of total emissions. Experts have noted that decarbonizing this sector and electrifying other sectors is crucial for achieving economy-wide emissions reductions. A new report from Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Clean Energy Buyers Institute examines five pathways toward decarbonization of the power sector. The report finds that three of them would reduce costs and inflation: a national transmission macrogrid, further competition among electricity generators, and expansion of retail supply choice among buyers. The other two are candidates for going beyond the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act: a national clean electricity standard and utility-led decarbonization.
On September 13, 2022, RFF hosted an event exploring the report’s key findings and examining the likely impacts of the five pathways. A panel of experts—including lead author Daniel Shawhan and other major contributors to the report—discussed the emissions reductions and health benefits from each pathway, the monetary benefits and costs for the power sector and energy consumers, and the effects on company purchases of green power.
- James Elsworth, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Caroline Golin, Google
- Michael O'Boyle, Energy Innovation
- Daniel Shawhan, Resources for the Future
- Bryn Baker, Clean Energy Buyers Association (Moderator)
Global Head of Energy and Climate Policy, Google
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