Peak Temperatures Will Push Electric Grid to the Brink in an Ever-Warming World
Rising temperature could cost U.S. utilities as much as $180 billion this century due to greater electricity demand.
The study doesn't calculate the expected effect on emissions from the additional capacity. But even if renewable sources like solar and wind power and low-carbon but controversial nuclear energy are part of the mix, the scenarios Hausman laid out are likely to mean more carbon emissions, said Marilyn Brown, who studies energy markets at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
"I'm not sure I'd want $180 billion worth of new power plants just to meet this load," Brown said. "I'd rather shrink that by managing demand as much as possible."
Improvements in efficiency and more use of renewable power could go a long way toward blunting that expected spike, Brown said. New federal standards for air conditioners went into effect in 2015. Roofs that reflect rather than absorb solar radiation and something as simple as planting more trees for shade can help keep buildings cool without relying on electricity, she said.
"There's no CO2 penalty for shade trees," Brown said.
The U.S. strategy for attacking climate change focuses heavily on increasing efficiency and promoting more renewables to meet future demand. And the U.S. Department of Energy has called for spending between $300 and $500 billion to update the grid for the 21st century. On top of that, the rapid drop in the price of solar power has piqued many consumers' interest, opening up an opportunity for many homeowners to reduce their dependence on existing utilities.
"Professor Marilyn Brown talks about demand side management and her new book, Green Savings: How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency.
Energy efficiency is often viewed as a cost rather than an economic opportunity. Marilyn Brown, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy, addresses these and other common misperceptions about energy efficiency and provides a roadmap for implementing demand side management (options for reducing electricity consumption) as a frontline strategy for addressing global climate change, improving energy security, supporting grid reliability in her new book, Green Savings: How Policies and Markets Drive Energy Efficiency. Co-authored with Iowa State University Professor Yu Wang, ‘Green Savings’ offers insight into energy resource planning; evaluating emerging technologies; policymaking from local to global levels, and user behavior.
Dr. Brown talks discusses her book and energy efficiency trends with the Strategic Energy Institute." Continue Reading the entire interview here.
Marilyn Brown, the project’s lead researcher and the Brook Byers Professor of Sustainable Systems in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech tells Think Progress, “To minimize costs, the country needs to reduce its coal consumption more rapidly, continue to expand its gas-fired power plants, but temper this growth with aggressive policies to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Marilyn Brown, a public policy professor, School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech, says their model looked at implementing the Clean Power Plan with a combination of renewable and energy-efficiency policies plus a modest price on carbon.
She says that would translate to lower bills not just in Missouri, but nationwide.
"We see a reduction of, depending on the state," she says. "Anywhere from 5 to 10 percent rather than an increase."
Brown adds, by not putting the Clean Power Plan into action and continuing under the current energy scenario, the average electric bill would increase about nine percent between now and 2030. The Clean Power Plan is expected to be finalized this summer. Continue reading article here.
The EPA's Clean Power Plan sets strict limits on carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants. The Georgia Institute of Technology's Marilyn Brown, one of the authors of the study, says that if states make smart choices, residents will reap the rewards of a cleaner environment and energy costs will drop. "If CO2 emissions are reduced by using energy efficiency and renewables, some natural gas, cutting back more radically on coal, you can both meet the EPA regulations and also provide electricity bill savings to households," Brown says. The study says it's up to states to implement smart choices about energy generation. Read the full article here.
Two new reports debunk claims that the EPA's Clean Power Plan would cost Michiganders in the form of higher energy bills.
Critics claim the standards will cost Michigan and the nation jobs, but a public policy professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, Marilyn Brown, says the findings also reveal a clean power pathway would be good for both the economy and for job creation. "You spend a lot more on labor when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable systems than you do in the generation of electricity for large power plants, whether it's nuclear, coal or natural gas," says Brown. Read article here.
New Research says an EPA plan to reduce carbon emissions should actually cut electricity bills, ... Professor Marilyn Brown from the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy says efficiency and shifting to wind, solar and biomass should make a typical utility bill somewhat smaller. "We see a reduction of, depending on the state, anywhere from 5 to 10 percent rather than an increase," she relates. Continue reading the article here.
The Georgia Tech Working Paper on "Low-Carbon Electricity Pathways for the U.S. and the South" has just been published as announced in a Georgia Tech press release this morning. The report is attached to the press release and supporting materials can be found on the Clean Power Pathways project page.
Public News Service stories featuring the George Tech report have been published so far today in the following states: Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, and Missouri.
Elizabeth Noll, of the Natural Resources Defense Council and MSPP graduate, testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power on Energy Efficiency. The hearing focused on the recently released discussion draft of potential energy efficiency legislation. In her blog, Noll states three provisions, "that seek to weaken, delay, and repeal strong clean energy programs that work and are what Americans want."