ORIGINAL REPORTING: Reaching California’s Zero Emissions Goals How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar
Herman K. Trabish, Oct. 13, 2020 (California Current)
Editor’s note: There is a huge challenge and an exciting opportunity ahead.
California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint agencies report on SB 100 previewed last month.
It also concluded that California must keep its natural gas fleet in place, while slowly dialing down reliance as the renewables come online.
California’s biggest annual solar build to date was 2.67 GW. Going forward, therefore, requires annual solar capacity additions of 2.7 GW, the report’s High Electrification scenario stated. Wind’s best year added nearly 1 GW, thus nearly 1 GW of wind must be added every year. But batteries must nearly double. Battery storage’s top year produced about 1 MW, and now 2.2 GW of new battery storage annually is necessary.
The total cost to meet these renewable load increases will be between $62 billion and $70 billion through 2045. It will have an average electricity cost of $0.148/kWh to $0.171/kWh electricity cost, the joint agencies reported.
A resource mix more diverse than the high electrification scenario will more quickly achieve the zero greenhouse gas goal, but it comes with a higher cost. More solar, wind, battery storage, and zero carbon firm resources, like geothermal and hydrogen, could further reduce natural gas reliance but would produce “an $8 billion increase in total resource cost,” California Energy Commission spokesperson Michael Ward said.
The report fills a gap by providing California’s first definition of a zero-carbon emission resource, Jessie Knapstein, a senior consultant with Energy and Environmental Economics, said. E3 supports modeling and planning by the agencies. A resource contributes toward SB 100’s 2045 goal if it is renewable portfolio standard-eligible, according to the CEC guidebook, or if it has zero onsite emissions. The latter includes large hydropower and nuclear power from Palo Verde…This work could allow the agencies to conform their planning efforts with “uniform reference points and assumptions,” making future analyses “apples to apples comparisons,” Knapstein said… click here for more