ORIGINAL REPORTING: California New Energy Demand Gets Complicated
Calif’s Zero Emissions Goal Drives Huge New Demand, Weird Math and Dunkelflaute
Herman K. Trabish | March 29, 2022 (California Current)
Editor’s note: It is a multi-part problem that requires solving a complex equation to balance accelerating demand, skyrocketing costs, resources owned by energy suppliers, deliverers, and users, and unpredictable climate crisis-driven threats.
California may face up to a 90% growth in electricity demand to meet its economy-wide zero emissions by 2045 goal, according to a forthcoming report from a leading California power sector analyst.
Electric loads are expected to increase by 60% to 90% before the middle of the century, Energy and Environmental Economics reported in a March 15 preliminary presentation to the California Air Resources Board obtained by Current. E3 does much of the state public agencies’ power sector forecasting.
Renewables advocates often object to E3 findings as not ambitious enough while investor-owned utilities tend find them too ambitious. But they agreed on its demand projections of Senate Bill 100’s 2045 net zero mandate. E3’s findings echo those from the California Energy Commission. Both also concluded that the decarbonization objectives can be achieved.
Adapting to a changing climate will drive “significant electrification load growth, especially from the transportation and building sectors,” and the state must “proactively plan ahead now,” Southern California Edison spokesperson Jeffrey Monford said.
The magnitude of E3’s demand growth projection “is not new energy demand, it’s new electricity demand,” for buildings and transportation, agreed Environmental Defense Fund California Energy Program Director Michael Colvin, citing an EDF-Clean Air Task Force commissioned study.
The CEC’s March 2021 projections and E3’s foresee the need to add 175 GW to 200 GW of new clean energy by 2045, said Union of Concerned Scientists Western States Energy Manager and Senior Analyst Mark Specht. That ambition will require record-setting resource development every year for two decades, but the CEC found that meeting the level of demand in E3’s projections is “technically achievable,” Specht said. The total resource cost is “about 6% higher,” but could be lower if the falling costs for renewables, load flexibility, and energy storage accelerate, the CEC also found… click here for more