California can eliminate carbon emissions without markedly increasing the cost of electricity while preserving the reliability of the state’s grid, according to an analysis published in the online journal, Issues in Science and Technology. To learn more, read “Study: California can Reach a Decarbonized Electric Grid Affordably and Reliably by 2045.”
- The study employed three different models of California’s electricity system to quantify the costs of a variety of future scenarios for new sources of clean, reliable electric power.
- Each team’s model determined how much electricity would cost under a variety of scenarios.
- The models also considered the physical implications of building the decarbonized grid, examining questions like how much infrastructure would be required; how quickly the state would need to build it; and how much land would be needed.
- While each team approached the challenge differently, they all produced similar results that kept the cost of generation and transmission between 7 and 10 cents per kilowatt hour, comparable to the current costs of generation and transmission for California’s investor-owned utilities.
- While the teams found that renewables like wind and solar will remain critical to the state’s path toward decarbonization, California will need to tap into clean electricity that is available on demand, for as long as it is needed, whenever it is needed.
- Known as “clean firm power,” this type of energy includes geothermal and nuclear power as well as natural gas that utilizes carbon capture and storage technology to sequester CO2.
- Clean fuels such as hydrogen manufactured with no life-cycle emissions could also be added to the mix.
Path to 100% Perspective:
Meeting California’s goal of 100% renewable electricity by 2045 while ensuring affordable and reliable power is a tremendous challenge. This analysis shows the potential of Power-to-Gas technology, in conjunction with energy storage, as a source of firm carbon-neutral power that can help the state achieve an optimal, decarbonized power system while keeping costs low for ratepayers and ensuring a secure supply of electricity.