Jun 10, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Report charts path to decarbonized U.S. grids

Reproduced from the Goldman School of Public Policy; Chart: Axios Visuals
Reproduced from the Goldman School of Public Policy; Chart: Axios Visuals

Declining costs for renewables and battery storage could enable a nearly carbon-free U.S. electricity mix by 2035 without raising consumers' power bills, a new report argues.

Why it matters: The report's pathway for deeply decarbonizing the electricity mix is faster than what's envisioned under various state-level and power company targets.

  • The analysis, from a UC Berkeley public policy school and the nonprofit GridLab, also arrives as activists are pushing Joe Biden to adopt more aggressive policies.
  • Standing reminder: Biden's current plan is already a heavy political and technological lift and goes far beyond Obama-era policies.

What they're saying: Amol Phadke, a scientist with Berkeley's Center for Environmental Public Policy, said cost declines have occurred faster than anticipated.

  • “This is the first report to integrate the latest low prices for renewable energy and storage and shows it is technically and economically feasible to deliver 90 percent carbon-free electricity on the U.S. power grid by 2035," Phadke said in a statement alongside the report.

But, but, but: The "90% clean" goal of the report, which envisions no new natural gas plants and a phase-out of coal, rests on a series of substantial federal and state policy changes and incentives proposed in an accompanying memo from the firm Energy Innovation.

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