DNV Projects 1,000 GW Of Solar Power And 90% Clean Electricity For The USA And Canada

DNV’s report sees federal policy as muddled, but individual provinces, states and cities are pushing electrification of buildings and transportation, significant per-capita efficiency increases, 30% less energy use overall, and coal going away in just over a decade.

DNV GL, an accreditation and research group, sees Canada and the United States increasing population and wealth, yet still lowering total energy use by 30% while shifting toward almost 90% CO2 free electricity by the year 2050.

The group’s annual Energy Transition Outlook sees federal policies lagging in both countries, but local politics picking up the pace.

The analysis suggests that 24% of electricity in the two countries will come from photovoltaics by 2050, totaling just over 1.7 petawatt-hours that year. This will be generated by a total of 962 GWac of solar power, which by the late 2020s will start to be installed at 35 to 45GWac of capacity per year. This volume slowly increases to an AC capacity factor of 20% by the end of the period.

Wind power will head toward almost 50%, with onshore rising to 26% from today’s approximate 8%, and offshore growing from effectively 0% today (30MW total installed in Rhode Island) to 22% by 2050. Hydro and nuclear are expected to hold onto 8% of electricity generation each. The total amount of electricity from these five CO2 free sources is 88%, with gas fired generation pushing another 10% of the electrons into the power grid — and by the early 30s coal will head to 0%.

No seasonal storage was considered for the report – all battery capacity considered came from flow, lithium ion, pumped storage and EVs. Interestingly, standalone lithium ion is suggested as delivering only a small amount of electricity, while EVs and flow batteries offer multiple orders of magnitude greater energy storage services. Flow batteries are predicted to install almost 2,000GWh of capacity, with standalone lithium ion only 19GWh.

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