Electric Utilities and The 2050 Dilemma

Study after study finds that the United States must double its electricity production by 2050 in order to meet the surging demand for electricity in transportation. The anticipated load is for surface vehicles, but the aviation industry has its eyes on electric flight.

The National Academy of Sciences says that production must increase 170 percent by 2050 without taking any fossil fuel generation offline.

Already, signs of stress are evident. Texas flirted with blackouts this summer when ERCOT came close to demand exceeding supply. California, which is banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, also squeaked through this summer with help from its consumers. This winter, New England will be squeezed with high natural gas prices and possible electricity shortages.

The Biden administration wants the electric utility industry to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 - a daunting task as coal and natural gas still account for over 50 percent of our generation, with coal at 22 percent and natural gas at 38 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Is it plausible to phase out these fuels, especially natural gas, by 2050?

These critical questions and more will be addressed in this briefing, which will consist of a panel of experts taking questions from knowledgeable journalists. USEA Acting Executive Director Sheila Hollis will give opening remarks. Llewellyn King, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and broadcaster, organized this briefing and will moderate.

The general audience can submit questions using the Zoom Q&A function, but members of the media will be given preference. A recording will be made available after the briefing.

Jigar Shah, Director, Loan Programs Office, DOE
Robert Rowe, President, Northwestern Energy
Matthew Lind, Director, 1898 & Co., part of Burns and McDonnell
David Naylor, President, Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative
Jim Matheson, President, NRECA

Jennifer Hiller, The Wall Street Journal
Matt Chester, Energy Central
Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Ken Silverstein, Forbes
Rod Kuckro, Freelance