Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Fossil fuel combustion harms air quality and human health. A 2010 study by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that air pollution from coal-fired power plants accounts for more than 13,000 premature deaths, 20,000 heart attacks, and 1.6 million lost workdays in the U.S. each year. The total monetary cost of these health impacts is over $100 billion annually.
In Reinventing Fire
, Rocky Mountain Institute investigates the implications of four radically different future electricity scenarios - from a “business-as-usual” case to a network of intelligent microgrids powered largely by distributed renewables.
Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system ( detailed here
) all have markedly different projected CO2 emissions over the next 40 years.
The required generating capacity and its breakdown are very different in each of Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system (detailed here
Each of Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system (detailed here
) will have a very different electricity generation mix.
While Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system ( detailed here
) have profoundly different resource portfolios, grid structures, environmental impacts, and risk, all the scenarios have very similar overall system costs.
Reinventing Fire results in 2050 fossil-carbon emissions that are 82% lower than emissions in 2000. The remaining fossil-carbon emissions in 2050 come almost entirely from natural gas consumption.
In evaluating the future U.S. electricity system, Rocky Mountain Institute created capital cost projections for fossil and renewable generation technologies through 2050. Many newer technologies, such as concentrated solar power, solar photovoltaics, and battery storage, are projected to have rapidly declining capital costs in the next 40 years.
By Reinventing Fire, the U.S. economy can capture a net present value (2010) saving of $5 trillion. Three fourths of this value is created by changes in the transportation sector and the remaining quarter is driven by changes in the buildings, industry and electricity sectors.
There are currently 308 GW of coal-fired capacity and 185 GW of gas-fired capacity in operation in the United States. Assuming normal operating lives, 95% of the coal capacity and 99% of the gas capacity will be retired by 2050.