Deep Decarbonization for the Midwest
Updated: Sep 22, 2020
This report - Low-Carbon Transition Strategies for the Midwest - is the latest publication of the US Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project, led by Evolved Energy Research and US DDPP Director Jim Williams.
This work explores unique opportunities and challenges for the Midwest region in the broader context of the transformative changes to the U.S. energy system that are required to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net-zero emissions in 2050. The scale and rate of physical changes to the U.S. energy system will be significant, and the Midwest will play a critical role in enabling a national transition. The implications of these changes to the region will be far-reaching, offering opportunities to grow new industries and jobs, as well as the chance to deploy climate mitigation and adaption policies that focus on ensuring an equitable energy transition.
There are two central questions about the Midwest region in this report: how does the physical energy infrastructure in the Midwest region need to evolve to enable a low carbon transition, and what are key decarbonization opportunities and challenges in the Midwest? Answers to these questions can support regional stakeholders’ efforts to develop a shared vision of pathways to deep decarbonization, and advance discussions in states across the region.
We find that the Midwest is uniquely positioned in terms of resource endowments and industrial capacity to facilitate a deep decarbonization transition of the energy system within the region and the whole country. The region becomes a primary exporter of energy (both fuels and electricity) in a deeply decarbonized U.S. economy due to its high-quality wind adjacent to eastern seaboard load centers; biomass feedstocks; and available carbon sequestration. Finally, we also discuss how the transition to electric vehicles offers the Midwest an opportunity for continued global technology leadership in automobile manufacturing but also presents a risk if the industry can’t respond quickly enough to impending large-scale changes.