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Electrification Future of the US by NREL

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Electric technology, specifically EV Auto's is a love hate relationship for people in the United States. Some love the simplicity, reduced maintenance and ease of using an EV Auto and others hate them with the attitude being the current internal combustion engine auto has served us fine for 100 plus years, why do we need to change. No matter how one feels on the subject, there is no denying the fact that energy consumption is rising in the United States and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory government group just released their latest study and the end result is that EV autos are expected to drive a 38% rise in electricity demand that will lead to a sustained absolute growth of 80 terawatt-hours per year of electricity demand.

NREL says that utilities will go from a stagnant power demand to a compound annual growth rate of 1.6% which amounts to a sustained absolute growth of 80 terawatt-hours per year. NREL does caution that more research is needed and that while EV autos have gotten off to a slow start in the US, once more models become available giving consumers greater choice it will not be out of line to have over 7 million EV auto's on the roads in America by 2025 up from the 567,000 at the end of 2016.

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NREL says that as the transportation sector becomes fully electrified, it will result in a minimum of $6 trillion dollars in  investments across the country. The NREL report points to one benefit as a possibility of "expanded value streams enabled by electric and/or grid-connected technologies."

NREL analysis also points out that the boom in EV autos will "dramatically shift load shapes" with shifting peak demands that "could have significant impacts on electric utility planning, grid operations, reliability assessments and electric markets." The greatest change in peak demand will come in the midwest and northeast as those areas catch up to the west coast.

The NREL analysis points to these key findings by 2050 on the high scenario side:

  • 240 million light-duty cars and trucks
  • 7 million medium and heavy-duty electric trucks
  • 80,000 electric transit buses

These EV autos would account for 76% of vehicle miles traveled in 2050. This is just one sector of the 151 page report that also covers other items like the buildings and industrial sectors with heat pumps, water heaters, heating, etc..

One point that the NREL analysis points out is that as electrical demand soars, fuel side will reduce for gasoline, diesel and natural gas. Natural gas is the one area that would see a reduction on one side but an increase on the other due to gas fired electrical production increases. This is to be studied in a future report.

This EFS or Electrification Futures Study has the following scope best shown by this table:

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This study is a very big factual review of where we have been, where we are today and where we expect to go in the future. This is based on sound science of facts that have allowed the NREL to make valid analysis for the sake of business investments based on plans for the future.

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Click the link below to gain access to the 151 page analysis if you wish to better understand the US electrical consumption for today and into the future.

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy18osti/71500.pdf

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