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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.


2050 installed capacity by case

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).


Steel use for automaking, 2010–2050

The shift from steel to carbon fiber in the transportation sector reduces steel production. With the rapid adoption of lightweight vehicles, RMI estimates that, in 2050, the auto industry will require one-fifth the steel used in 2010.


2050 generation by case

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.


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.


Energy use for steel sector, 2010–2050

Projected reduction in U.S. steel demand will reduce the energy required by the industrial sector by 111 trillion BTU/y in 2050.


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.


Projected delivered energy use to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), 2010–2050

Energy to manufacture the required carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) used in the transportation sector is 45–120 TBTU/y by 2050. Future reductions in energy intensity and the use of recycled materials could further reduce this.


Reinventing Fire carbon dioxide emission reductions

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.


Basic characteristics of Revolutionary Plus autos

Our Revolutionary auto class is based on RMI’s extensive work on the Hypercar. We use a cost model for superefficient battery-electric and fuel cell autos for both cars and light trucks. These vehicles, described in this table, are designed to compete with EIA’s average automobile in price and all driver attributes.


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