Climate change initiatives proposed by governments and industry organizations will affect the way energy is used in North America. The aggressiveness or pace of mandates/targets affects near-term and long-term outcomes and the rate of new technology deployments. This report assesses the status and reliability effects from integrating new technologies promulgated by climate change initiatives as well as develops a framework for scenario assessment.
Excerpt from the Executive Summary:
From March, 2009, to December, 2009, the Center for Energy Economics and Terra Group surveyed state and federal regulators, environmental leaders, industry representatives and other key stakeholders in the U.S. electric power transmission system. This survey updates an earlier study completed in 1996. At that time, few “non-traditional” stakeholders were interested in transmission projects.
This situation has changed significantly. At present, public discussion of high-voltage transmission has been subsumed within broader policy debates about reducing greenhouse gases, moving renewable energy over long distances and redesigning our nation’s overall electric system. New players – including national environmental groups, academics, Washington think tanks, trade associations and renewable power generators – now play a major role in shaping public debate about transmission siting and need.
The science of global warming has reached a consensus on the high likelihood of substantial warming over the coming century. Nations have taken only limited steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions since the first agreement in Kyoto in 1997, and little progress was made at the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009. The present study examines alternative outcomes for emissions, climate change, and damages under different policy scenarios. It uses an updated version of the regional integrated model of climate and the economy (RICE model). Recent projections suggest that substantial future warming will occur if no abatement policies are implemented. The model also calculates the path of carbon prices necessary to keep the increase in global mean temperature to 2 °C or less in an efficient manner. The carbon price for 2010 associated with that goal is estimated to be $59 per ton (at 2005 prices), compared with an effective global average price today of around $5 per ton. However, it is unlikely that the Copenhagen temperature goal will be attained even if countries meet their ambitious stated objectives under the Copenhagen Accord.