100% clean energy and electricity in Wisconsin would cost the same, when calculating health benefits, as continuing “business as usual,” and would achieve four times the reduction of emissions as 100% clean energy alone, found a study supported by two Wisconsin groups.
Wisconsin has an “ambitious but feasible path” to zero carbon from all sectors by 2050, as shown in the state’s “unprecedented” carbon economic modeling study, said Andrew Kell, a policy analyst at Renew Wisconsin. scholarship sponsor. .
Wisconsin will add 31 GW of solar, 21 GW of wind and 7 GW of battery storage under net-zero economic conditions, while delivering electricity, heating and industry. The government is also increasing distribution and demand flexibility, as well as improving energy efficiency.
The comprehensive economic study builds on the work of the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, and the state’s clean energy plan, said Chelsea Chandler, program director with Clean Wisconsin, a sponsor of the study. The study showed that “the transition to a clean energy future is possible in our country,” he said.
The decarbonization of the economy as a whole by 2050 will cost about the most basic “business as usual” and 100% scenario of clean electricity, the model showed. When calculating the health benefits of reduced pollution from eliminating fossil fuel burning, a net-zero economy-wide scenario would yield net savings compared to business as usual. The overall economy will reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
Consultancy Evolved Energy Research ran the model, using the open EnergyPATHWAYS model for all energy-using technologies in the economy, and the RIO economic optimization model in general. Consultant GridLab, a sponsor of the study, published the study, along with a summary and companion report on economic impacts and jobs.
An accompanying study estimated that pursuing a broader approach to the informal economy would create an additional 68,000 jobs in manufacturing, construction, electricity and other services. “Wisconsin’s labor market is well positioned to meet these new workforce needs,” GridLab said, as the state awards 5,000 engineering degrees and certifications annually.
The summary report recommends 30 policy measures that the legislature or the director of public services can follow, to help achieve net-zero emissions in the general economy.
Distributed solar installations were projected to total 2.5 GW by 2050, or 8% of total solar installations. That amount was not selected by the model, said Clean Wisconsin representative Brett Korte, because many factors that could influence the adoption of distributed solar were not included in the model. Those factors include the creation of rate and incentive programs, job promotion programs, and customer selection that go beyond cost/benefit analysis, he said.
Rooftop solar deployment was instead estimated based on a rooftop solar feasibility report prepared by consultant Cadmus, especially Wisconsin, which predicted commercial adoption in 2034.
The net-zero economic scenario also calls for 18 GW of additional transmission capacity that connects Wisconsin to three neighboring states, and calls for a transition accomplished with 2 GW of hydrogen electrolyzers and 3 GW of dual-use electric batteries that can switch between pipeline gas and . electricity. Gas-fired units in 2050 will be fueled by methane from the anaerobic digestion of biomass, and will only run 5% of the time.
The report acknowledges that the changes in the economy required to pursue a net-zero economy will be “significant,” including “changes in the demand side” to achieve the transition to electric vehicles and heating, along with the expansion of electricity distribution infrastructure. , the expansion of exports to offshore sources, and the rapid growth of renewables.
The study examined several other conditions to achieve 100% clean energy if, for example, the purchase of electric vehicles and heat pumps exceeded the expectations of the average situation, or it was not possible to increase the distribution.
The Evolved Energy Research study is titled “Achieving 100% Clean Energy in Wisconsin.” Update Wisconsin represents the renewable industry and individual members, and is a state member of the national solar trade group SEIA. Clean Wisconsin is a citizen group working to protect Wisconsin’s clean water, clean air and natural heritage.
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