Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
Increased adoption of energy efficient technologies as well as cogeneration and waste heat recovery systems will reduce energy use by an additional 4.7 quadrillion BTUs from business-as-usual. These and other changes (energy changes due fuel switching or transformation in other sectors) can reduce projected primary energy use by 27% in 2050.
In 2005, half of U.S. water withdrawals were made by the electricity sector. A “business-as-usual” U.S. electricity future will increase reliance on large thermal power plants and keep water demands high.
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.
While U.S. demand for electricity has risen in all but four years since 1949, the rate of increase has been steadily trending down. The Energy Information Administration predicts an annual growth rate around +1% to 2030 (which RMI extrapolates to 2050). Successfully implementing the energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industry discussed in Reinventing Fire
could reduce this to a steady –1%.
Based on Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) technology reports, a number of measures were considered for adoption. This table features a sampling of these measures, with information on each measure’s technical potential, associated energy savings, and cost.
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.
Premium-efficiency motors are normally assumed to cost more because they use more and better copper and iron. Yet analysis of all models on the 2010 U.S. market, in this case for 250 hp (TEFC, NEMA Type B) shows this is untrue despite standards’ having knocked the least efficient models off the market.
In the transportation sector, Reinventing Fire affects jobs in oil exploration and production, auto manufacturing, auto parts and auto repair, and hydrogen and biofuels production. The net effect on jobs from these changes is relatively small.
Based on a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) report on technologies that generate electricity from waste heat (and other waste energy sources), our analysis adopted the options summarized in the table.
Both building energy use and total square footage have steadily increased in the United States since 1950. Total building energy use has almost quadrupled, due to increases in building number and size, as well as the adoption of such energy-intensive technologies as color televisions, computers, and air conditioning.