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Electrification Futures Study: 

A Technical Evaluation of the Impacts of an Electrified U.S. Energy System

Illustration showing various electricity consumers (e.g., buildings) along an electrical cord emanating from various power sources (e.g., a wind turbine), with an outline of the contiguous United States as a background.

Through the Electrification Futures Study (EFS), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is exploring scenarios with and impacts of widespread electrification in the United States.

In addition to NREL, the research team includes the Electric Power Research Institute, Evolved Energy Research, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Northern Arizona University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The multi-year study will answer five important questions:

  1. What end-use electric technologies are available for the highest energy-consuming services today, and how might the technologies advance over time?
  2. How might widespread electrification impact national and regional electricity demand and consumption patterns?
  3. How would the U.S. electricity system need to transform to meet changes in demand from an electrified economy?
  4. What role might demand-side flexibility play to support reliable operations of a clean electricity grid?
  5. What are potential costs, benefits, and impacts of mass electrification, including to system costs, household costs, infrastructure development, health and the environment, utility businesses, and distribution system planning?

Learn more about the study's modeling approach.

Released June 2018: Second Report Explores Demand-Side Impacts

The second report in the EFS series, Electrification Futures Study: Scenarios of Electric Technology Adoption and Power Consumption for the United States, aims to support an integrated understanding of how the potential for electrification might impact the demand side of the U.S. energy system. The report presents scenarios with various degrees of future electrification in all major end-use sectors of the U.S. energy system, and quantifies impacts on the amount and shape of electricity demand.

Explore the Scenario Data

Explore the report figure data and scenario data. The scenario data includes detailed annual sales, stock, service, and energy data by state for all core scenarios.

View Our Informational Webinar

On July 26, the NREL study team hosted a webinar summarizing the report scenarios, sector projections, key findings, and overall study progress. 

Watch a recording of the webinar and download the presentation slides.

Report Cover: Electrification Futures Study: End-Use Electric Technology Cost and Performance Projections through 2050).

Also Available: Demand-Side Grid Model Documentation

In August 2018, the EFS team released documentation for the demand-side grid (dsgrid) model, which was developed for the EFS and in recognition of a general need for a more detailed understanding of electricity load. dsgrid utilizes a suite of bottom-up engineering models—developed by multiple NREL modeling teams and partners at the Electric Power Research Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory—across all major sectors to develop hourly electricity consumption profiles for every county in the contiguous United States. The consumption profiles are available by subsector and end use as well as in aggregate.

Future research to be presented in forthcoming EFS publications will rely on dsgrid to analyze the hourly electricity consumption under scenarios with various levels of electrification. In addition to providing electricity consumption data for the planned EFS analysis, dsgrid can be used for other analysis outside the EFS research umbrella.

Download the Demand-Side Grid (dsgrid) Model Documentation, and learn more about the EFS modeling approach.

First EFS Report: Foundational Technology and Cost Performance Data

Released December 2017, the first report in the EFS series, Electrification Futures Study: End-Use Electric Technology Cost and Performance Projections through 2050, provides estimated cost and performance data for electric technologies considered in the study. Figure data is also available. The study applies a literature- and expert opinion-based approach in developing future projections of technology advancement to be used in the EFS scenario analysis. The data can also inform other researchers and analysts exploring electrification.

Coming Next: NREL to Explore Supply-Side Scenarios

The data and analyses from the reports released to date will inform the supply scenarios and impacts to be presented in future reports under the EFS project. Future work will evaluate the potential evolution and operation of the future U.S. electricity supply to power the end-use transition presented in the second report.

EFS Featured in Electrification Issue of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine

The July-August 2018 edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine focuses on the role of electrification in future energy systems, and includes an article coauthored by the NREL EFS study team. "An Electrified Future" reports results from another NREL electrification study and introduces EFS as a follow-on work that employs higher-fidelity modeling to better understand the impacts of widespread electrification in the United States. 

Other Recent NREL Reports on Electrification

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Contact

Trieu Mai

trieu.mai@nrel.gov | 303-384-7566