最新研究:零排放美国现在相当便宜
New study: A zero-emissions US is now pretty cheap
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2021-03-16 20:59
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True neutral —

真正中立-

In 2050, benefits to the US offset costs, but there are some unexpected outcomes.

在2050年,美国的收益可以抵消成本,但是会有一些意想不到的结果。

John Timmer - Jan 31, 2021 1:00 pm UTC

约翰·蒂默(John Timmer)-2021年1月31日,世界标准时间

Image of a wind farm.

In many areas of the United States, installing a wind or solar farm is now cheaper than simply buying fuel for an existing fossil fuel-based generator. And that's dramatically changing the electricity market in the US and requiring a lot of people to update prior predictions. That has motivated a group of researchers to take a new look at the costs and challenges of getting the entire US to carbon neutrality.

在美国的许多地区,安装风力或太阳能发电厂比单纯为现有的化石燃料发电机购买燃料要便宜。这极大地改变了美国的电力市场,需要很多人更新之前的预测。这促使一群研究人员重新审视让整个美国保持碳中立的成本和挑战。

By building a model of the energy market for the entire US, the researchers explored what it will take to get the country to the point where its energy use has no net emissions in 2050—and they even looked at a scenario where emissions are negative. They found that, as you'd expect, the costs drop dramatically—to less than 1 percent of the GDP, even before counting the costs avoided by preventing the worst impacts of climate change. And, as an added bonus, we would pay less for our power.

通过为整个美国建立一个能源市场模型,研究人员探讨了如何才能让美国在2050年达到能源使用没有净排放的地步--他们甚至还研究了一种排放为负值的情景。他们发现,正如你所预料的那样,成本大幅下降--低于GDP的1%,甚至在计算通过防止气候变化造成的最严重影响而避免的成本之前。而且,作为额外的奖励,我们会为我们的权力付出更少的代价。

But the modeling also suggests that this end result will have some rather unusual features; we'll need carbon capture, but it won't be attached to power plants, for one example.

但模型也表明,这个最终结果将有一些非常不寻常的特征;我们需要碳捕获,但它不会附加到发电厂,举个例子。

Model all the things

为所有的事物建模

Decent models of the future energy economy are complex. They typically involve breaking the grid down by region and simulating typical demand by using historic data, often scaled to represent increased demand. They'll then try to meet that demand using different energy sources, subject to a set of applied constraints. So, in this case, one of the constraints would obviously be limiting carbon emissions. The model then iterates over possible ways of meeting both the demand and constraints in the most economical way possible, identifying an optimal solution.

未来能源经济的体面模式是复杂的。它们通常涉及按区域划分网格,并使用历史数据模拟典型的需求,这些数据通常被缩放以表示增加的需求。然后,他们将尝试使用不同的能源来满足这种需求,但必须遵守一套适用的限制条件。因此,在这种情况下,其中一个限制因素显然是限制碳排放。然后,该模型以最经济的方式迭代可能的满足需求和约束的方法,以确定最优的解决方案。

In this case, the researchers set up a series of eight scenarios that applied different constraints. These scenarios include things like continuing current trends into the future (where fossil fuel prices are low), or simply identifying the cheapest carbon-neutral pathway. Other variations include a scenario with an all-renewable grid and high levels of efficiency technology; another scenario where the land given over to energy production is constrained; and a scenario where the United States manages to reach negative net emissions.

在这种情况下,研究人员建立了一系列应用不同约束条件的八个场景。这些设想包括持续的未来趋势(化石燃料价格较低),或者简单地确定最便宜的碳中和途径。其他变化包括一种完全可再生电网和高效率技术的设想;另一种情况是,转让给能源生产的土地受到限制;以及美国设法达到负净排放。

The US uses fossil fuels for a lot of things beyond electrical generation, and shifting these to emissions-free options is also part of the model. These include things like switching vehicles and heating to electrical options and altering industrial processes where possible. Carbon capture is deployed as needed to reach emissions goals.

除了发电以外,美国在很多事情上都使用化石燃料,而将化石燃料转变为无排放选择也是模式的一部分。这些措施包括切换车辆和加热到电气选项,并在可能的情况下改变工业流程。碳捕获是根据需要部署的,以达到排放目标。

One of the things that's immediately apparent from running the business-as-usual model is how much already changes thanks to the price drops in wind and solar. In this scenario, carbon emissions will drop by 22 percent, largely due to the displacement of coal use. It's worthwhile knowing this, as any proposals for a target in that area can be dismissed as irrelevant. Another thing that is clear is that decarbonizing the energy system doesn't mean the US will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. The non-carbon greenhouse gases will still provide the equivalent of 500 metric megatons of carbon dioxide.

从经营照常模式中可以立即看出的一件事是,由于风能和太阳能的价格下跌,已经发生了多大的变化。在这种情况下,碳排放将下降22%,主要是由于煤炭的使用置换。了解这一点是值得的,因为任何关于该领域目标的建议都可能被视为无关紧要。另一件很明显的事情是,对能源系统进行脱碳并不意味着美国将消除温室气体排放。非碳温室气体仍将提供相当于500公吨二氧化碳的气体.

Efficiency and beyond

效率及以外

One of the things the research has made clear is that efficiency will be absolutely necessary for reaching emissions targets. By 2050, rising population and GDP should boost energy demand in the absence of efficiency. But, to get to carbon neutrality, we'll have to keep energy use roughly equal to our present levels. Some efficiency will occur simply because electrical vehicles and heating systems are inherently more efficient. But it's clear that we'll need quite a bit beyond that, since the research team estimates that per-capita energy use has to decline by about 40 percent in the next 30 years to reach carbon neutrality.

研究表明,要达到排放目标,效率是绝对必要的。到2050年,人口增长和GDP增长将在缺乏效率的情况下刺激能源需求。但是,为了达到碳中和,我们必须保持能源的使用与我们目前的水平相当。一些效率的出现仅仅是因为电动汽车和供暖系统本身就更有效率。但很明显,我们还需要更多的能源,因为研究小组估计,未来30年,人均能源使用量将下降约40%,才能达到碳中和。

While energy use may stay level, the increased electrification of homes and vehicles will mean that we'll need significant increases in generating capacity. The typical scenario would involve about 3.2 terawatts of new capacity, almost all of it in the form of wind and solar power.

虽然能源使用可能保持在水平,但家庭和车辆电气化的增加将意味着我们将需要大幅增加发电能力。典型的情况将涉及约3.2太瓦的新容量,几乎全部以风能和太阳能的形式出现。

The good news is that doing this is relatively cheap. The researchers estimate that the net cost of the transformation will be a total of $145 billion by 2050, which works out to be less than one-half percent of the GDP that year. That figure does include the increased savings from electrical heating and vehicles, which offset some of their costs. But it doesn't include the reduced costs from climate change or lower health care spending due to reduced fossil fuel use. These savings will be substantial, and they will almost certainly go well beyond offsetting the cost.

好消息是这样做相对便宜。研究人员估计,到2050年,这一转型的净成本将达到1,450亿美元,低于当年GDP的一半。这一数字确实包括电加热和车辆节省的增加,这抵消了它们的一些费用。但这并不包括气候变化带来的成本降低,也不包括化石燃料使用减少导致的医疗支出减少。这些节省将是相当可观的,而且几乎可以肯定的是,它们将远远超过抵消成本。

Due to the reduced cost of renewable generation, the authors project that we'll spend less for electricity overall, as well.

由于可再生能源的成本降低,作者们预计,我们的整体电力支出也会减少。

The most expensive scenarios raise the cost to about 1 percent of the 2050 GDP. Notably, going to net negative emissions is not the most expensive; instead, limiting land use cuts down on the amount of renewable energy that could be deployed, raising costs.

最昂贵的假设将成本提高到2050年GDP的1%左右。值得注意的是,净负排放并不是最昂贵的;相反,限制土地使用减少了可利用的可再生能源的数量,增加了成本。

Part of the reason it is so cheap is because reaching the goal doesn't require replacing viable hardware. All of the things that need to be taken out of service, from coal-fired generators to gas hot-water heaters, have finite lifetimes. The researchers calculate that simply replacing everything with renewables or high-efficiency electric versions will manage the transition in sufficient time.

它之所以如此便宜的部分原因在于,要实现这一目标并不需要更换可行的硬件。所有需要停用的东西,从燃煤发电机到燃气热水加热器,都有有限的寿命。研究人员计算出,简单地用可再生能源或高效率的电子版本取代一切,将在足够的时间内完成这一转变。

Not what you might expect

不是你所期望的

Many takes on a carbon-neutral grid assume that periods of low solar and wind production will be smoothed over with gas generators using carbon capture and storage. But this analysis suggests that any remaining gas plants simply won't run often enough to provide an economic justification for the carbon-capture hardware. Similar things are true with batteries; the periods when demand outstrips capacity are expected to be so rare that it doesn't make economic sense to build that many batteries to cover them.

许多采用碳中和电网的假设是,利用碳捕集与封存的气体发生器将使太阳和风的低产期变得平稳。 但是这项分析表明,任何剩余的煤气厂都不会足够频繁地运转,无法为碳捕获硬件提供经济上的依据。 电池也是如此。 预计需求超过容量的时期将非常罕见,以至于制造如此多的电池来覆盖它们在经济上没有意义。

Instead, gas plants will simply dump their carbon emissions into the sky. This ends up being carbon neutral because we'll still need some liquid fuels for things like air travel, and we'll make these with carbon pulled back out of the atmosphere, combined with hydrogen produced from water during periods of excess renewable supply. The researchers estimate that we would require 3,500 terawatts just to make enough hydrogen—roughly the same amount of electricity we make currently.

取而代之的是,加工厂只会将其碳排放物倾倒在空中。 这最终是碳中和的,因为我们仍然需要一些液体燃料来进行空中旅行,并且我们将通过将碳从大气中抽出以及在过量可再生能源供应期间从水中产生的氢气来制造这些燃料。 研究人员估计,仅要制造足够的氢气,我们就需要3500兆瓦,这与我们目前生产的电量大致相同。

“Until recently, it was unclear whether variable renewable energy, nuclear, or fossil fuel with carbon capture and storage would become the main form of generation in a decarbonized electricity system... The cost decline of variable renewable energy over the last few years, however, has definitively changed the situation.”

“直到最近,还不清楚可变碳可再生能源,核能或具有碳捕获和存储的化石燃料是否将成为脱碳电力系统中的主要发电形式。可变碳可再生能源的成本在过去几年中下降了, 但是,它已经彻底改变了现状。”

The scenarios with additional constraints produce some odd results as well. The only scenario in which nuclear power makes economic sense is the one in which land use is limited. This also drives more wind offshore and relies on fossil fuel plants with carbon capture. Not surprisingly, this turns out to be the most expensive situation the researchers looked at. Carbon capture, along with enhanced biomass use for power, also features prominently in a scenario where the shift to electric vehicles and appliances is delayed.

具有其他约束条件的方案也会产生一些奇怪的结果。 核电具有经济意义的唯一情形是土地使用受到限制的情形。 这也带动了更多的海上风能,并依赖具有碳捕集功能的化石燃料厂。 毫不奇怪,这是研究人员研究过的最昂贵的情况。 在延迟向电动汽车和家用电器转移的情况下,碳捕集以及增加的生物质能源利用也很显着。

Going entirely renewable actually forces much higher levels of carbon capture to ensure that fuel needs could be met without any fossil fuels. And going net negative involves a variety of carbon capture and biofuels, with substantial land use as a result of the latter.

完全采用可再生能源实际上迫使更高的碳捕获水平,以确保无需任何化石燃料即可满足燃料需求。 净负值涉及各种碳捕获和生物燃料,而后者则导致大量土地使用。

Everything has changed

所有东西都变了

To an extent, the researchers themselves seem somewhat surprised by how much has changed in the last few years. "The net cost of deep decarbonization, even to meet a 1°C/350 ppm trajectory," they write, "is substantially lower than estimates for less ambitious 80 percent by 2050 scenarios a few years ago." It also provides clarity to what has been an uncertain future. "Until recently, it was unclear whether variable renewable energy, nuclear, or fossil fuel with carbon capture and storage would become the main form of generation in a decarbonized electricity system," they note. "The cost decline of variable renewable energy over the last few years, however, has definitively changed the situation."

在一定程度上,研究人员自己对过去几年中发生的巨大变化感到有些惊讶。 他们写道:“即使达到1°C / 350 ppm的轨迹,深度脱碳的净成本也大大低于几年前对2050年雄心勃勃的80%情景的估计。” 这也为不确定的未来提供了清晰的信息。 他们指出:“直到最近,还不清楚可变碳,碳捕集与封存的可再生能源,核能或化石燃料是否将成为脱碳电力系统中的主要发电形式。” “然而,最近几年可变的可再生能源的成本下降已经彻底改变了这种状况。”

Now, even if we go for deep decarbonization, we'll be investing in the future. It will cost money to get there, but we'll have lower future energy costs if we pay the price upfront—as well as improved health and a more stable climate.

现在,即使我们要进行深度脱碳,我们也会在未来进行投资。 到达那里将花费金钱,但是如果我们提前支付价格,以及健康状况改善和气候更加稳定,我们的未来能源成本就会降低。

There are, however, significant hurdles to getting there beyond simple economics. The emission-free future will involve us installing roughly 160GW of wind and solar per year in less than two decades; 2021 will see us installing only 15GW. And the switch to electric vehicles and appliances has to start now—anything that breaks should be replaced with an electric version, which does not seem to be happening.

但是,要达到这一目标,除了简单的经济学之外,还有很多障碍。 无排放的未来将涉及我们在不到二十年的时间里每年安装约160GW的风能和太阳能; 到2021年,我们将仅安装15GW。 而且,现在必须开始转向电动汽车和电器-凡是出现故障的地方都应该用电动版本代替,这似乎没有发生。

But if this analysis holds up, there are good reasons to think it's worth getting started.

但是,如果这种分析坚持下去,则有充分的理由认为值得开始。

AGU Advances, 2021. DOI: 10.1029/2020AV000284  (About DOIs).

AGU进展,2021年。DOI:10.1029 / 2020AV000284(关于DOI)。

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