ORIGINAL REPORTING: Getting to 100% zero emissions in California
Getting to 100% zero emissions in California: Beyond CAISO's eight-solution menu; The state's IOUs are on track for 50% renewables by 2020, but the goal is 100% clean energy by 2045 and there are still unanswered questions on how to reach it.
Herman K. Trabish, Jan. 3, 2019 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Real 100% plans are just starting to emerge from the turmoil of California’s power sector transformation.
The path to 100% emissions-free energy by 2045 in California is not completely carved, and answers are still coming. Most of the state's load serving entities (LSEs) required to meet the SB 100 mandate of 60% renewables by 2030 have met their 2017 interim requirement of 27%, according to the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) latest annual RPS report. California's three dominant investor-owned utilities (IOUs) have reached 33% renewables and are on track for 50% by 2020…But reaching the 2045 zero emissions goal — also part of SB 100 — will require a wide range of changes, including reducing reliance on natural gas in the power sector and on gasoline-fueled vehicles in the transportation sector. California's grid operator has not taken on the 100% emissions-free goal yet because the CPUC's integrated resource planning (IRP) process is still in the process of identifying its “preferred system plan," which will be based on an eight-solution menu that includes more distributed energy resources (DER) and demand response, time-of-use rates, transportation electrification and a regional grid…
One set of potential answers for moving toward California's zero-emission ambitions can be found in ten scenarios described in an Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) paper prepared for the California Energy Commission (CEC). The scenarios include high levels of energy efficiency, renewables and transportation electrification, but vary on biofuels and building electrification. "Simulations show up to 90% of California's power can come from a combination of wind, solar, batteries and geothermal," E3 Senior Partner Arne Olsen told Utility Dive. "Beyond 90%, it gets difficult and expensive." The E3 paper's "four pillars" of deep, economy-wide decarbonization echo and expand on items in CAISO's menu of solutions, calling for economy-wide electrification with renewable generation and energy efficiency, moving to low-carbon — eventually zero-carbon — fuels, and eliminating non-combustion emissions from soils and forests, manufacturing, and livestock agriculture. Only a rethinking of California’s grid architecture will allow a 100% zero-emissions power system… click here for more