New England’s goal to cut economywide carbon emissions to near zero by 2050 would require electric power supplies to more than triple, as vehicles and building heating switch from fossil fuels to electricity,

E&E News reports on the story (here, paywalled but you can sign up for free) about an analysis by Energy and Environmental Economics Inc. (E3) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI).

The region’s grid currently has about 31,000 megawatts of electric power capacity of all types. New wind and solar generation totaling between 47,000 MW and 64,000 MW would be needed by 2050 to meet the six states’ carbon goals, the report modeling concludes. The project’s supply model also includes 3,500 MW of hydropower from Quebec.

The backup generation would have to come from new technology nuclear plants, and gas turbines either running on hydrogen or on natural gas whose carbon emissions would be trapped and shipped by pipeline to New York or Pennsylvania for underground storage, the report said.

There are two ways to look at this: One is “That’s too expensive and disruptive; let’s give up” and the other says “Oh boy, think of all the jobs and investment opportunities that will provide!!!!”

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