Electrification Future Study: Scenarios of Electric Technology Adoption and Power Consumption in the United States

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Historical and Projected Annual Electricity Consumption

This report is the second in a series of Electrification Futures Study (EFS) publications, a multi-year research project to explore widespread electrification in the future energy system of the United States. The report presents scenarios of electric end-use technology adoption and resulting electricity consumption in the United States. The scenarios are used to characterize changes to end-use sectors under futures with increased electrification and to quantify how those changes might impact the amount and shape of electricity consumption. These scenarios were developed primarily using expert judgment and an energy system accounting framework. Of course, technology adoption will ultimately depend on a set of complex considerations that are not fully assessed using our methodology, but which are discussed extensively throughout the report. These interacting factors include technology and fuel cost trade-offs, infrastructure needs, environmental policies, and consumer preference. Within each of these factors are barriers that might challenge increased electrification -- such as higher upfront costs or unfamiliarity with new electric technologies -- but also opportunities that could yield greater adoption -- such as increased productivity or expanded value streams enabled by electric and/or grid-connected technologies. Understanding and quantifying these factors are needed to both evaluate the implications of a potential increased electrification future and to influence the degree of future electrification. Overall, the report represents an initial step to inform researchers and decision-makers with data and context to plan for a potential future in which electricity powers an expanded share of the U.S. energy economy.

NREL Technical Report