New Study Predicts US Energy Future: 45 New Nuclear Reactors, 100 Million Plug in Electrics, and More

To reduce emissions to levels set by the climate bill (which we all know aren't nearly low enough), the US is going to need at least 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030. It's also going to need to reduce general power consumption by 8%, according to a study done by the Electric Power Research Institute, whose members are responsible for generating 90% of the nation's electricity. And that's just the tip of the iceberg of the group's forecast for the energy future of the United States . . .According to Bloomberg, the report also calls for "building 100 million plug-in electric vehicles and retrofitting about 18 percent of U.S. coal-power plants to capture emissions." A pretty tall order, to say the least, considering we barely have a million Priuses on the road--100 million plug in electric in the next 20 years (even the next 40) would be fantastic, but is it feasible?

The report goes on to make other predictions, some that far outpace the more conservative ones made by the US Department of Energy. For instance, the government predicts that we'll have around 60,000 Megawatts of renewable energy up and running by 2030--the EPRI thinks we'll have 135,000 MW, around 15% of total US power generation. I hope they're right.

And then there's this, via Bloomberg:

"The analysis confirms that while the cost of implementing major CO2 emissions reductions is significant, development and deployment of a full portfolio of technologies will reduce the cost to the U.S. economy by more than $1 trillion," according to a summary of the report.
Encouraging stuff. And finally, about perhaps the tallest order of them all: 45 new nuclear power reactors over 20 years. This seems extremely ambitious, seeing as how we only have 104 up and running right now, and the last approved reactor was built more than ten years ago. And there's still the waste problem to think about, too.

Overall, the report seems to give a pretty positive forecast--let's hope its more optimistic figures are closer to reality than the gov's.

More on US Energy Future:
10 Steps to a Renewable Energy Future
US Energy Consumption: What it All Means

Tags: Electricity | Nuclear Power | Renewable Energy