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Energy consumption in the U.S. economy, 2010-2050

By 2050, the U.S. can phase out its use of oil, coal and nuclear energy by relying on energy efficiency to reduce its energy needs, and meeting remaining the energy requirements with renewables and natural gas.


Electricity scenarios

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.


U.S. price vs. rated efficiency of 250–hp motors

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.


Cumulative new transmission requirements in four scenarios

Rocky Mountain Institute’s four scenarios for the future U.S. electricity system ( detailed here ) all have very different requirements for an expanded transmission infrastructure.


Building sector job quantity impact

The improved efficiency in commercial and residential buildings from implementing Reinventing Fire creates new jobs in the efficiency segment of the buildings sector. In addition, the resulting energy savings increase building owners’ disposable income and induce new jobs in the wider economy as the savings are spent.


Estimates for combined heat and power and waste heat recovery

RMI analysis predicts a net increase of industrial combined heat and power (CHP) installations of 109 GW, split between traditional cogeneration units and waste heat recovery to electricity systems.


Industry sector job quantity impact

In Reinventing Fire, the improved efficiency and increased adoption of combined heat and power in the industrial sector create new jobs.


Present value cost of the U.S. electricity system

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.


Technology capital cost projections, 2010-2050

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.


Wind and solar photovoltaic capital cost trends, 1976–2010

Renewable energy technologies have historically had higher capital costs than fossil-fueled power plants, but these costs are falling rapidly.


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