Energy Futures Initiative: Green Real Deal

The Green Real Deal (GRD) is an actionable framework for meeting deep decarbonization of energy and associated systems by midcentury in ways that minimize costs, maximize economic opportunities, accelerate solutions, and promote social equity. This framework, developed by the Energy Futures Initiative (Figure 4)starting from five broadbased principles and organized around eight highlevel key elementsis designed to provide policymakers, stakeholders, and industry with the context and building blocks for prioritizing, selecting and implementing energy policy, technology and business model innovations to effectively accelerate economywide decarbonization.

The GRD builds on the Paris Agreement and the commitments of the range of subnational players dedicated to deep decarbonization. Paris targets roughly translate to an 80 percent reduction by midcentury and typically a 30 percent reduction by 2030 (from a 1990 level). Advances in science and observed environmental changes in the short time since Paris have, however, caused a reevaluation of the stringency of the targets. A 40 percent economywide emissions reduction target by 2030 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 are increasingly seen as the needed objectives. Operationally, this means that multiple pathways to economywide decarbonization must all be implemented while breakthrough innovation success will be needed at scale by midcentury. The GRD is designed with the emphasis on innovation and optionality and flexibility to respond to new and better understanding of the science.

The Green Real Deal principles emphasize the need to effectively navigate the technical, economic, regional and social realities of decarbonizing the energy system: the energy system must provide essential services reliably at all times; energy delivery infrastructure must be available, reliable, and secure as the system transforms; affordable negative emissions technologies will be important at large-scale for deep decarbonization; and success will require aligning the interests and commitment of a range of key stakeholders.These boundary conditions shaped each clean energy pathway, revealing both opportunities and gaps for future efforts.

EFI identified eleven potential breakthrough technologies based on a review of existing policies, energy system and market needs, and other distinct regional features. The technology priorities identified (which will vary by state or region) include hydrogen production from electrolysis, advanced nuclear, green cement, floating offshore wind, smart cities, and direct air capture, among others. These technologies, and many others with breakthrough potential, must be developed and deployed at scale by midcentury, with investments in innovation that must start today. These are all key lessons that inform the mission, principles and elements of the Green Real Deal.

Read more at “The Green Real Deal: A Framework for Achieving a Deeply Decarbonized Economy” by the Energy Futures Initiative, led by Ernie J. Moniz.