Last week @mitceepr released a paper by @darrylekane and I modestly titled "Building the energy infrastructure necessary for deep decarbonization in the United States". Findings might be interesting to #climate and #energy Twitter, so: 1/
It's a long paper because we were asked more than a year ago: how did the US build its large-scale infrastructure systems, like the railroads, TVA, and highways, like during the New Deal and ARRA stimulus? 2/
We started researching this shortly after @aoc released the Green New Deal resolution, but before the current pandemic, so we never dreamed that reading so much about the 1930's New Deal, Great Depression, and 2009 ARRA stimulus would be so relevant again, so soon. 3/
THEME 1: WHY DO WE NEED LARGE-SCALE INFRASTRUCTURE? We started by looking at why we are talking about large-scale national policy: *climate change*. I then spent a lot of time digging into deep decarbonization plans by @noahqk and others. 4/
Tbh, I found more agreement than not. Most agree that we need (1) massive new amounts of renewables, but also (2) massive efficiency to be able to get demand down and within reach of renewables. But the second part gets lost sometimes. 5/
That second part is important, because of spatial mismatch: where are renewables are (Southwest, upper Midwest) don't match up with where our people and industry are (East). If you had to remember just one geographical fact for energy: renewables are west, people mostly east. 6/
THEME 2: HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT. Our fossil fuel system was largely built by private capital. Oil monopoly in the U.S. was established very quickly by Standard Oil and Rockefeller, but no global cartel as other countries started their own FF industries. @WeAreDrilled 7/
The electric grid: no one would design the grid from scratch as we have it today. THE GRID IS A HISTORICAL ARTIFACT, growing out of cities and competing utilities, into regional interconnects, and held together by bubble gum, duct tape, and 50 state policies. 8/
THEME 3: ECONOMIC STIMULUS. When we looked at the New Deal & ARRA stimulus, we found that they were overwhelmingly executed at the state and local level. In the New Deal, it was a deliberate part of the political strategy to get local jurisdictions, interests to buy in. 9/
The New Deal focused on buildings and physical infrastructure like roads, courthouses, and schools because every jurisdiction needed them. 10/
The ARRA stimulus also sought to send money to state and local governments -- just like the Democrats want to now -- but we found evidence that how it was structured. intending to allow state govt flexibility allowed them to cut back on infrastructure spending. 11/
A lot of excellent stuff has already been written about the effects of the ARRA stimulus on start-ups, green jobs, and economic stimulus, so we didn't recap that. 12/
We also looked a lot at some new ideas for getting federal policies implemented at the local level: infrastructure banks, competitive grants, legislative and regulatory changes, drawing a lot on "Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization" by @MichaelGerrard @johndernbach. 13/
But to summarize so far: (1) we need large-scale energy infrastructure; (2) our existing system developed in different regions and places differently; (3) economic stimulus worked through local and state governments. Which brings us to: 14/
THEME 4: WHERE SHOULD WE BUILD IT? Given the Roosevelt Project's focus on jobs, employment, and deep decarbonization, we used this simple conceptual formula: 15/
Fossil fuel infrastructure maps, mostly from @EIAgov and @EPA data: 16/
Climate risk maps, based on risk scores for extreme rainfall, heat stress, sea level rise, and cyclonic winds, developed working with @427mt. Also, risk is where the people are and where there are less renewables: 17/
(Sorry for the interruption, but dinner waits for no one and no discussion in our house, even if it is from a paper that is the product of a year's work).
We (mostly @darrylekane) helped to highlight four regions for deeper case studies, which is Phase 2 of the Roosevelt Project, in the industrial Midwest (MI, OH, IN), the Gulf (LA, TX), Appalachia (W. PA), and NM. 18/
Anyway, we worked hard on this paper, and it is leading to a bunch of new work. We found some really weird excellent evidence arguing that infrastructure federalism goes back to the creation of the republic. 19/
Finally, we're using the data to show that different places and factors in climate mitigation and adaptation (climate risks, FF industry, renewable potential, populations) will require different kinds of climate change planning. Obvious, profound, or in between? TBC! 20/end
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