The Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah just released the eUtah Blueprint illustrating how Utah could reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 95% by 2050 and could meet electricity demand reliably with a combination of wind, solar, geothermal, and compressed air storage (with some natural gas backups). The report – written by Arjun Makhijani from IEER – is rich in detail.
Here are a few worthwhile excerpts:
A transition to an essentially fully renewable and reliable electricity system in Utah is technically feasible with available and proven technologies. However, a centralized approach incurs significant added cost due to spilled energy. It may be possible to reduce it with the use of distributed technologies.
…The notion that solar and wind energy cannot be the mainstay of an electricity generation system because they are intermittent is incorrect. This study shows that they can be dispatched reliably when there is storage – and a commercial storage technology is available.
…An 80 percent reduction in CO2 emissions relative to 2010 can be achieved at modest cost: [in the] lowest cost carbon reduction scenario in this study…Residential electricity bills would increase by about $185 per person per year in 2050 relative to 2010, in the context of a per person gross domestic product increase from $37,000 at present to over $75,000 in 2050.