1. Natural resources futures study
A British think tank Chatham House published a study on future resource issues in agriculture, metals, and energy sectors in the years 2020, 2030, and 2040. It is very informative.
Lee, B., Preston, F., Kooroshy, J., Bailey, R., & Lahn, G. (2012). Resources Futures: A Chatham House Report. London, UK: Chatham House. [Full-text at http://j.mp/Resource_Futures]
2. Renewable electricity futures studies
In 2012, there were two mutually conflicting renewable electricity futures studies.
(1) Pro-renewable futures study
This report admits renewable electricity demands more costs than conventional power sources. But its conclusion is that a high-penetration (80%) of renewables in the U.S. electricity system by 2050 is environmentally desirable and technologically doable.
Hand, M. M., Baldwin, S., DeMeo, E., Reilly, J. M., Mai, T., Arent, D., Porro, G., Meshek, M., Sandor, D. (Eds.). (2012). Renewable Electricity Futures Study. 4 volumes. (NREL/TP-6A20-52409). Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
http://j.mp/RE_Futures_1 = Volume 1: Exploration of High-Penetration Renewable Electricity Futures (includes Executive Summary)
http://j.mp/RE_Futures_2 = Volume 2: Renewable Electricity Generation and Storage Technologies
http://j.mp/RE_Futures_3 = Volume 3: End-Use Electricity Demand
http://j.mp/RE_Futures_4 = Volume 4: Bulk Electric Power Systems: Operations and Transmission Planning
(2) Pro-nuclear futures study
This NEA report is not entirely about futures. But some of its data contain projections into 2020, 2030, and 2050. It considered 10% and 30% penetration levels of renewables in the grid. The NEA says grid integration costs of renewable electricity are too high. (How high? See the table below the citation.)
Nuclear Energy Agency. (2012). Nuclear Energy and Renewables: System Effects in Low-carbon Electricity Systems. (NEA No. 7056). Paris, France: OECD/NEA Publishing. [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264188617-en]
Total cost of electricity supply at different penetration levels of renewable energy (USD/MWh)
|Country||Reference||10% penetration level||30% penetration level|
|Finland||Total cost of electricity supply||75.9||81.2||86.5||121.8||93.5||109.0||215.9|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||3.5||8.2||41.2||10.5||24.7||123.7|
|Grid-level system costs||-||1.8||2.3||4.7||7.1||8.3||16.3|
|France||Total cost of electricity supply||73.7||79.5||82.9||112.0||92.1||102.5||189.6|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||3.7||6.9||34.0||11.1||20.8||101.9|
|Grid-level system costs||-||2.0||2.3||4.3||7.2||7.9||14.0|
|Germany||Total cost of electricity supply||80.7||86.6||91.3||101.2||105.5||116.9||156.2|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||3.9||7.8||16.9||11.6||23.3||50.6|
|Grid-level system costs||-||1.9||2.8||3.6||13.2||12.9||24.9|
|South Korea||Total cost of electricity supply||63.8||70.5||77.4||82.8||86.3||107.1||122.8|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||4.7||11.0||15.8||14.1||33.1||47.5|
|Grid-level system costs||-||2.0||2.6||3.1||8.4||10.2||11.4|
|United Kingdom||Total cost of electricity supply||98.3||101.7||105.6||130.6||111.9||123.6||199.4|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||1.5||3.9||26.5||4.5||11.7||79.6|
|Grid-level system costs||-||1.9||3.4||5.8||9.1||13.6||21.5|
|United States||Total cost of electricity supply||72.4||76.1||78.0||88.2||84.6||91.5||123.7|
|Increase in plant-level cost||-||2.1||4.2||14.3||6.2||12.5||42.8|
|Grid-level system costs||-||1.6||1.4||1.5||6.0||6.5||8.5|
Note: Higher electricity prices associated with the high renewable scenarios are driven by replacement of existing generation plants with new generators (mostly renewable); additional balancing requirements reflected in expenditures for combustion turbines, storage, and transmission; and the assumed higher relative capital cost of renewable generation, compared to conventional technologies, assumed in the analysis.