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Graph Of The Day: How To Green World’s Largest Grid

This article was first published on RenewEconomy

Today’s graph of the day is not so much a graph as a series of animations, produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US, to show how the world’s largest electricity grid could be transformed to a high-level renewable system by 2050 – resulting in sharp reductions in greenhouse gases and water consumption.

The animations are based  on the NREL RE Futures modeling and show capacity changes, the hourly operation and transmission flow of that grid system in 2050.

The important thing noted by NREL is that all these technologies are commercially available today, and in combination with a more flexible electric system are more than adequate to supply 80 per cent of total US electricity generation in 2050 – and meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.

Here’s the first animation, which includes assumed changes in capacity from 2010 to 2050.


The second one, gives an hour by hour visualisation of how the energy needs to US electricity customers are met over 12 months of the year.


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Written By

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.


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