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The Cost of a Carbon-Free Electricity System in the U.S.

Geoffrey Heal

NBER Working Paper No. 26084
Issued in July 2019, Revised in July 2019
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics

I calculate the cost of replacing all power stations in the U.S. using coal and gas by wind and solar power stations by 2050, leaving electric power generation in the U.S. carbon free. Allowing for the savings in the cost of fossil fuel arising from the replacement of fossil fuel plants this is roughly $55 billion annually. Allowing in addition for the fact that most fossil plants in the U.S. are already old and would have to be replaced before 2050 even if we were not to go fossil free, this annual cost is reduced to $23 billion.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26084

 
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