Union of Concerned Scientists UCS

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Union of Concerned Scientists UCS

United States

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Mileva A.,Energy and Environmental Economics Inc. | Johnston J.,University of California at Berkeley | Nelson J.H.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS | Kammen D.M.,University of California at Berkeley
Applied Energy | Year: 2016

We explore the operations, balancing requirements, and costs of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council power system under a stringent greenhouse gas emission reduction target. We include sensitivities for technology costs and availability, fuel prices and emissions, and demand profile. Meeting an emissions target of 85% below 1990 levels is feasible across a range of assumptions, but the cost of achieving the goal and the technology mix are uncertain. Deployment of solar photovoltaics is the main driver of storage deployment: the diurnal periodicity of solar energy availability results in opportunities for daily arbitrage that storage technologies with several hours of duration are well suited to provide. Wind output exhibits seasonal variations and requires storage with a large energy subcomponent to avoid curtailment. The combination of low-cost solar technology and advanced battery technology can provide substantial savings through 2050, greatly mitigating the cost of climate change mitigation. Policy goals for storage deployment should be based on the function storage will play on the grid and therefore incorporate both the power rating and duration of the storage system. These goals should be set as part of overall portfolio development, as system flexibility needs will vary with the grid mix. © 2015 The Authors.


Mitchell D.,University of Oxford | Heaviside C.,Public Health England | Vardoulakis S.,Public Health England | Huntingford C.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology | And 6 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2016

It has been argued that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. The extreme high temperatures of the summer of 2003 were associated with up to seventy thousand excess deaths across Europe. Previous studies have attributed the meteorological event to the human influence on climate, or examined the role of heat waves on human health. Here, for the first time, we explicitly quantify the role of human activity on climate and heat-related mortality in an event attribution framework, analysing both the Europe-wide temperature response in 2003, and localised responses over London and Paris. Using publicly-donated computing, we perform many thousands of climate simulations of a high-resolution regional climate model. This allows generation of a comprehensive statistical description of the 2003 event and the role of human influence within it, using the results as input to a health impact assessment model of human mortality. We find large-scale dynamical modes of atmospheric variability remain largely unchanged under anthropogenic climate change, and hence the direct thermodynamical response is mainly responsible for the increased mortality. In summer 2003, anthropogenic climate change increased the risk of heat-related mortality in Central Paris by ∼70% and by ∼20% in London, which experienced lower extreme heat. Out of the estimated ∼315 and ∼735 summer deaths attributed to the heatwave event in Greater London and Central Paris, respectively, 64 (±3) deaths were attributable to anthropogenic climate change in London, and 506 (±51) in Paris. Such an ability to robustly attribute specific damages to anthropogenic drivers of increased extreme heat can inform societal responses to, and responsibilities for, climate change. © 2016 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Fleischman L.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS | Cleetus R.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS | Deyette J.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS | Clemmer S.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS | Frenkel S.,Union of Concerned Scientists UCS
Electricity Journal | Year: 2013

The U.S. power sector is in a period of unprecedented change, with record numbers of coal plants being announced for retirement. An analysis of which additional coal units are economically vulnerable and should be considered for retirement shows that these uneconomic coal plants can be replaced with affordable alternatives in each region of the country. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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