Pragmatic projection sees solar power nearly tripling in roaring 2020s
Updated: Jun 22
The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has released its 2019 Standard Scenario tools and analysis. The report looks at a combination of broad combination of variables to create models of potential outcomes in the US electricity system through 2050.
Across the full set of scenarios, the models show wind and solar providing between 21-62% of total installed capacity and 17%–72% of total generation. While coal and nuclear show decline in all scenarios, gas shows the widest range of outcomes with it most being affected by the price of itself and energy storage.
The mid-case scenario got a decent amount of attention as it was considered possibly pragmatic. In the scenario total generation grows, provided primarily by a mix of new natural gas combined cycle, PV, and wind generation.
In the late 2040s, wind and PV generation increase more rapidly as more rapid retirements that occur then. Respectively, wind and solar, fossils, and nuclear are generation 28%, 57%, and 15% of electricity in 2030 and 60%, 33%, and 7% in 2050. The total 2030 projection shown in the below image sees a cumulative capacity 48GWac of rooftop, and 122GWac of utility scale solar power.