Envisioning a Low Carbon, Lowest Cost Grid

Envisioning a Low Carbon, Lowest Cost Grid

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Wind turbine in front of nuclear cooling towers
January 31, 2018

Today’s electric grid will need to be reimagined to deliver carbon-free power. MIT’s Jesse Jenkins talks about what a deeply decarbonized electricity system might look like, and how to build it at lowest cost. 

In its 2014 report on global warming, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that carbon dioxide emissions must fall by as much as 70% by mid century to avoid the most “severe, pervasive and irreversible” damage from climate change. A key to reducing carbon emissions will be the near complete decarbonization of the global electricity system, which is today’s largest source of greenhouse gasses, and remains largely dependent on fossil fuels.

Kleinman Center Visiting Scholar Jesse Jenkins discusses the economics of building a 'deeply decarbonized’ electricity system. Jesse, and a group of MIT engineers, have modeled future electricity systems to determine the mix of low carbon energy resources that will create tomorrow’s most resilient, cost-effective, and low-carbon electricity systems. Their research is currently working its way through peer review and will be released later this year.


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