NREL releases five-year study on continent-wide integration of renewable energy resources


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released findings from it five-year North American Renewable Integration Study (NARIS), which aims to inform grid planners, utilities, industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders about challenges and opportunities for continental system integration of large amounts of wind, solar, and hydropower to support a low-carbon future grid.

The study looked at a range of future scenarios and considered potential impacts on costs, emissions, resource adequacy, and specific technologies. To learn more, read “NREL releases five-year study on continent-wide integration of renewable energy resources.” 

Key Takeaways:

  • NREL said that four key findings emerged from the analysis.
    • Finding 1: Multiple Pathways Can Lead to 80% Power-Sector Carbon Reduction Continent-Wide by 2050.
    • Finding 2: The Future Low-Carbon Power System Can Balance Supply and Demand in a Wide Range of Future Conditions.
    • Finding 3: Interregional and International Cooperation Can Provide Significant Net System Benefits Through 2050.
    • Finding 4: Operational Flexibility Comes From Transmission, Storage, and Flexible Operation of All Generator Types.

Path to 100% Perspective: 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommends that to limit global warming to 1.5C°, global CO2 emissions should decline by 45% by 2030 in comparison to 2010 and reach net zero by 2050. The latest IPCC report finds that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the opportunity to limit warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will slip beyond our reach. A rapid acceleration in renew- able energy output can provide the near-term emissions reductions that are crucial for holding the global temperature rise to 1.5C°, but only if pathways to 100% renewables are fully embraced by energy leaders.