Listed below are all documents and RMI.org site pages related to this topic.
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.
For commercial buildings, energy and water are 22% of total operating expenses.
Most commercial buildings are small—73% of commercial buildings are less than 10,000 square feet. However, 35% of floorspace is in the largest 2.2% of buildings (100,000 square feet or larger).
In Reinventing Fire
, the shift toward renewable power generation creates new jobs; however, these additions may be negated, as the sector is required to raise electricity rates.
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.
The addition of a carbon tax will change the relative pricing per unit of heat for different fuels. At current fuel prices, heat pumps become cost competitive with coal (boiler) and natural gas (cogen) at ~$30/ton and ~$60/ton respectively.
Buildings or industrial facilities with both heating loads and electricity demand can typically benefit from combined heat and power (CHP) generation. This technology allows both heat and electricity to be produced at a marginal cost less than that of both produced separately.
By 2050, 50% of the U.S. vehicle fleet will be electrified —more than 150 million cars and light trucks in all. With an average battery pack size of 18.4 kWh, this would amount to nearly 2,900 GWh of energy storage capacity. The addition of such a large and potentially unpredictable load could present problems for grid management if electric vehicle charging is not handled effectively.
Transitioning to a more efficient transportation system by 2050 will cost, all told, $2 trillion in 2010 present value, but will save $5.8 trillion. This includes the cost of building the distribution infrastructure needed to support a fleet of autos running on a mix of electricity and hydrogen, less avoided investments in domestic oil supply.