California can reliably achieve 85% clean energy by 2030 without the risk of outages.


The power crisis during California’s August 2020 heatwave has raised questions about how reliable the state’s power grid can be to meet its 100% clean energy goal by 2045.

But a new study provides a clear answer: California can reliably achieve an 85% clean power grid by 2030. Under the conditions of multiple construction homes and possible future conditions, with a diverse mix of renewable and batteries, flexible demand, trade with neighboring countries and some existing power plants. A cleaner grid turned out to be a more stable grid.

State regulators and elected officials are encouraging the state’s 100% clean energy through policy actions that accelerate the deployment of a variety of clean energy, reduce dependence on gas generation, incentivize demand-side resources, and improve coordination of regional electricity transactions with neighboring countries. This important step towards the future can be achieved.

Policy to move forward

California is an international leader in reducing greenhouse gas pollution while providing increasingly clean electricity to 40 million people and the world’s fifth largest electricity user (40 million).One biggest economy. Energy Efficiency Measures Although overall state power consumption has remained constant for several years, an increasingly ambitious series of Renewable Portfolio Standard It has driven the rapid adoption of clean energy supply from renewable resources such as wind and solar.

State regulators’ ambitions have gained new momentum. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently New Preferred System Plan Approval It is for power suppliers that aim to achieve 86% zero-emission power generation by 2032 by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 38 million metric tons (MMT) by 2030 and 35 MMT by 2032.

But despite these increased ambitions, California needs to do more to achieve its goals for a reliable, zero-carbon future. new technical report Telos Energy and GridLab and Accompanying policy report by Energy Innovation explains how the state can solve this problem.

novel approach

The technical report provides a new methodology to help policy makers rapidly evaluate many future resource portfolios and assumptions to secure the clean energy grid of the future. By including scenarios and sensitivities that check reliability using details such as hourly wind and solar data matched hourly demand data for possible eight years across the western United States, modelers can compare the benefits of different resource portfolios relatively quickly and at lower cost. can.

Policy makers can then see how each portfolio most efficiently uses its 75% share of renewable resources over various years. Demand is high.

The technical report also models key “stress conditions” that can threaten reliability, such as drought-induced low hydropower, import restrictions, gas power plant decommissioning, and adjacent state coal power plant decommissioning, and shows that each 85% clean power portfolio is reliable. Found it. Specifically, the modeler simulated the hot weather conditions that caused a power outage in August 2020 and found that an 85% clean power system could have sufficient power supply under similar circumstances.

Optimized for ambitious deployment schedules

This new approach is particularly striking given the pioneering acceleration of clean energy deployments required by the state to meet or exceed its 80% clean electricity annual target by 2030. Modeling a diverse portfolio allows policy makers to consider important trade-offs, such as the reliability role of battery storage. , gas and imports are mostly provided by solar and wind-based systems, and how this will change when more consistent resources such as geothermal and offshore wind are added to the portfolio.

Examining the reliability performance of various resource portfolios under key stressors can lead to more efficient procurement after the proposed portfolio is fully regulated.

Case in point: The “Resource Diversity” portfolio of the technical reports shown above reduces the need to build as many solar and onshore wind farms as possible, reduces round-trip energy losses due to battery storage cycling, and relies less on fossil fuels for reliability. It does this by producing power more consistently and complementing other renewable energies, but including important new offshore wind and geothermal power sources at a higher price. Adding significant demand response to the mix offsets the large-capacity battery storage requirement. Modeling from GridLab and Telos can be an invaluable tool for any state working toward clean power goals, highlighting the non-cost stability benefits of resource diversification.

As the California Energy Agency and Grid Operator CAISO continue to implement The state’s clean energy policy agenda must incorporate the new approach of the technical report to evaluate a broad portfolio while continuing the close collaboration on reliability and procurement demonstrated after the August 2020 heatwave.

Specific efforts to plan future offshore wind deployments and directly delegate the procurement of more diverse generation resources, such as clean renewable energy (generally geothermal) and long-term storage, may be useful, but the report shows how this could be done more organically and transparently. Point out if you can. This type of analysis is based on the recent CPUC increased ambition Resource planning and the new forward-looking CAISO 20 Year Transmission Outlook.

A more equitable future on a cleaner grid

An equitable clean power transition depends on investment and creation in economically viable markets. Clean Energy Portfolio Helping dispose of natural gas equipment that is damaging to California’s most polluting communities. Justifiable transitions for affected communities include improving community resilience, building clean resources with jobs and economic benefits, and leveraging local consultations to make new investment choices.

Multiple scenarios in the technology study show that the state’s power grid is reliable even after decommissioning 11.5 gigawatts (GW), or about one-third of California’s existing gas capacity. Although beyond the scope of the technical study, the companion policy report recommends prioritizing gas power plants located near or in disadvantaged communities by 2030, eliminating the state’s dependence on gas as soon as possible. Although some agencies, including the CPUC, have made some progress in inclusiveness and environmental justice, Interrupted efforts to recover gas Show them that there is still more work to be done.

State agencies and policy makers should focus on the root causes of continued use of natural gas in California and develop a plan to phase it out. This requires rethinking how new clean energy portfolios and the use of demand-side resources can replace natural gas in delivering reliability value at system and regional levels.

Planners need to double the resource diversity.

Using insights from technology research, the policy report shows how a wider variety of clean resources can provide far more significant benefits to the state’s rapidly changing power grid. These benefits include reduced land use and demand for transmission, increased likelihood of meeting clean power goals, reduced impact on vulnerable communities, and increased resilience.

Resource diversity can take many forms, including resource supply (eg offshore wind, geothermal or distributed solar), resource location (different locations may provide complementary profiles), demand flexibility, and tight coordination with neighboring countries. can. Technological studies have shown that power drawn from these neighborhoods often plays an important role in grid balancing. Close coordination will allow California to rely more confidently on its neighbors, given research findings that reserve power is available across the West when California needs it.

California’s Accelerated Clean Energy Transition Is an Opportunity

Driving California’s clean energy innovation will continue, including how to keep building new infrastructure, how to engage more deeply with electricity consumers to unlock decentralized resources, and understand what it means to depend on new resources like batteries. It offers many challenges to turn on the lights. Powers the pinch, but needs to be recharged.

But these changes will lead to smarter planning and policies such as combating climate change, improving air quality in disadvantaged communities, adopting new approaches to assessing the most effective combinations of clean power resources, and creating a forum for technological innovation of all kinds to thrive. provides you with amazing opportunities. , and build a more resilient grid that will serve as a model for other states and countries.

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