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Title: A model to evaluate 100-year energy mix scenarios to facilitate deep decarbonization in the southeastern United States

The Southeast United States consumes approximately one billion megawatt-hours of electricity annually; roughly two-thirds from carbon dioxide (CO 2) emitting sources. The balance is produced by non-CO 2 emitting sources: nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and other renewables. Approximately 40% of the total CO 2 emissions come from the electric grid. The CO 2 emitting sources, coal, natural gas, and petroleum, produce approximately 372 million metric tons of CO 2 annually. The rest is divided between the transportation sector (36%), the industrial sector (20%), the residential sector (3%), and the commercial sector (2%). An Energy Mix Modeling Analysis (EMMA) tool was developed to evaluate 100-year energy mix strategies to reduce CO 2 emissions in the southeast. Current energy sector data was gathered and used to establish a 2016 reference baseline. The spreadsheet-based calculation runs 100-year scenarios based on current nuclear plant expiration dates, assumed electrical demand changes from the grid, assumed renewable power increases and efficiency gains, and assumed rates of reducing coal generation and deployment of new nuclear reactors. Within the model, natural gas electrical generation is calculated to meet any demand not met by other sources. Thus, natural gas is viewed as a transitional energy source that produces lessmore » CO 2 than coal until non-CO 2 emitting sources can be brought online. The annual production of CO 2 and spent nuclear fuel and the natural gas consumed are calculated and summed. A progression of eight preliminary scenarios show that nuclear power can substantially reduce or eliminate demand for natural gas within 100 years if it is added at a rate of only 1000 MWe per year. Any increases in renewable energy or efficiency gains can offset the need for nuclear power. However, using nuclear power to reduce CO 2 will result in significantly more spent fuel. More efficient advanced reactors can only marginally reduce the amount of spent fuel generated in the next 100 years if they are assumed to be available beginning around 2040. Thus closing the nuclear fuel cycle to reduce nuclear spent fuel inventories should be considered. Future work includes the incorporation of economic features into the model and the extension of the evaluation to the industrial sector. It will also be necessary to identify suitable sites for additional reactors.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States