Developing the Electric Grid for Carbon-Free Energy

Developing the Electric Grid for Carbon-Free Energy

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Electrical grid wires in front of sunset
May 12, 2020

More states are targeting 100% clean energy, but is the electric grid ready? An expert in energy policy and economics looks at the policy challenges to creating a robust, carbon-free electricity system.

Across the U.S., a growing number of states have adopted ambitious clean energy goals that will require the bulk of their electricity to come from carbon-free sources by the middle of this century. Yet clean energy will place new demands on the electricity system, which will need to accommodate intermittent wind and solar power, and distributed energy from rooftop solar and electric vehicles. This is a tall order for a grid that was built around large, central powerplants fueled by a predictable supply of fossil and nuclear fuel.

Judy Chang, an energy economist and engineer with the Brattle Group, explores the policy challenges to updating the electric grid to economically and reliably deliver clean energy. She looks at the cost of building a more flexible grid, and at the political opportunities, and hurdles to its development.

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