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Hello. Welcome to the FFUUUUUUTUURE. 2050.

Here in the future we have solved poverty, all Americans have access to affordable, excellent healthcare. Education is fun and universal. Potato chips are now synthesized virtually as a purely mental experience and are calorie free, and we have colonies of Tea Party folks on Mars living out their ideal world in a new frontier, thanks to President Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Yessir...the future is awesome.

And here in 2050, is what our energy mix looks like, as predicted by Synapse Energy, Inc and the Civil Society Institute:

BAU = Business As Usual - What our energy mix would have looked like if we did things like we had for most of the 20th century. Basically more coal.

BBAU = Beyond Business As Usual - What our energy mix looks like in 2050 because of market forces and because Americans pushed for a truly clean energy future: mostly solar and wind, a lot more energy efficiency, NO coal, less natural gas and less nuke.

It's pretty great here in the future: lower lung disease and respiratory issues, lower infant mortality, no more are 600,000 infants born each year with abnormally high mercury levels. CO2 emissions are way, WAY down. And the Industrial Belt is now a hub for wind turbine and solar production creating good, family sustaining jobs for tens of thousands of folks. We're the envy of the World, exporting renewable energy components to China and worldwide.

And the weirdest thing?

Our entire energy mix of the FUTURE-uture-uture in 2050 is all based on 2013 technology. Weird, right?

So how do we meet demand in 2050 with 2013 based technology?

First we had to curb inflexible baseload power like coal. In fact, we had to nearly, NEARLY, eliminate it. Coal. Blech. Gone.

- Dispachable hydro and gas generators had to supply energy when "must take" energy like solar and wind were less than the total load.
- Increased storage absorbed energy when the "must take" energy energy exceeded demand
- We improved demand response among buyers (industrial and otherwise) which behaved like dispachable power AND like storage.
- And we increased transmission capacity which behaves like dispachable power, because regions can move excess power to other regions, and it behaves like storage.

Here's what a typical week looks like for a region, here it's winter in the northeast

"Must take" energy like solar and wind make up the baseline while natural gas (orange) and hydro power (dark blue) make up the difference when "must take" energy doesn't meet demand at any given time.

It's an elegant system.

It's a REALISTIC and doable system.

It's something that comes from 2013 technology.

It's something that makes America a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous place.

And best of's something you can learn more about from the Synapse Energy Economics report RIGHT NOW.


Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, and Kosowatt.

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