A forecast model for deep penetration of renewables in the Southwest, South Central, and Southeast regions of the United States

Khoie, Rahim; Yee, Victoria
April 2015
Clean Technologies & Environmental Policy;Apr2015, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p957
Academic Journal
We present a model for forecasting the deep penetration of renewables in the electricity sector of the Southwest, South Central, and Southeast regions of the United States through 2050. Our model produces various scenarios for how electricity generation from renewables in the southern states of the U.S. can be ramped up in the next four decades. The maximum renewable potential of each state is determined for solar photovoltaic, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources. The penetration of renewables in the electricity sector is then modeled using the triangular distribution function. The renewable target is set to be a percentage of the maximum renewable potential of each state in each region. Our model accounts for a 1 % annual increase in electricity demand in all southern states. We have produced various forecast scenarios in which the states in the three regions set their renewable target at 60, 80, and 100 % of their maximum renewable potential in wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. Our results show that when the renewable is set at 60 % of the maximum renewable potential to be reached by 2050, the South Central region will be able to produce its entire electricity demand from its renewable resources by the year 2017, beyond which, further utilization of its vast renewable resources will result in significant surplus of electricity generation. At such target level, the Southwest region will be able to produce its entire demand by the year 2031, while the Southeast region will never be able to achieve the goal of 100 % renewable electricity. Our results also indicate that when the renewable target is set at 100 % of the maximum renewable potential, the year by which the regions are able to produce 100 % of their electricity demands from renewable resources will be 2016, and 2024, for South Central and Southwest regions, respectively. The Southeast region, however, will remain fossil fuel-dependent even at 100 % of its maximum renewable potential.


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