Electrification Futures Study:Methodological Approaches for Assessing Long-Term Power System Impacts of End Use Electrification

The Electrification Futures Study (EFS) was designed to analyze the potential impacts of
electrification, accounting for the complex dynamics between different segments of the U.S. energy system. The EFS uses several complementary modeling and analysis tools, and it relies on an overarching scenario analysis approach. Previous EFS reports defined a range of future cost and performance trajectories for electric end-use technologies (Jadun et al. 2017), which informed a variety of electrification scenarios (Mai et al. 2018).

These “demand-side” scenarios are defined by different electric end-use technology adoption rates and, in turn, different levels and patterns of electricity demand. Comparison across these scenarios reveals alterations in the temporal and spatial patterns of electricity consumption, such that the magnitude and timing of
peak demand are impacted in meaningful ways. Moreover, electrification expands opportunities for demand-side flexibility, which would further change the shape of electricity demand. In addition, increasing electrification also drives a reduction in end-use natural gas consumption which, in turn, influences the price of natural gas.

Assessing how these alterations in demand sectors would influence the corresponding buildout of the power system under widespread electrification requires their explicit representation in long-term planning models. The purpose of the present report is to document and demonstrate model development efforts we engaged in to improve our ability to represent interactions between electricity supply and demand under widespread electrification. These improvements were designed for and implemented in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model, which is a capacity expansion model that simulates
the evolution of the U.S. electricity system through 2050.

This report summarizes three primary improvements that were implemented in ReEDS. First, we improved the representation of load shapes and peak demand to better capture how regional interactions—such as resource sharing between regions—could be impacted under widespread electrification. Second, we represented how changes in direct end-use natural gas consumption could impact the economics of natural gas-fired generation, through price elasticity effects. Third, we implemented a new model representation of flexible load that is dispatched endogenously within the model.
These improvements to ReEDS are intended to be employed in follow on work that will fully explore the impact of electrification on the power sector evolution. However, the data and methods documented in this report could also be adapted for other models with similar scopes and limitations, to improve their ability to assess future electric system scenarios under varying levels of electrification.

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