California plans to reach 60% renewables by 2030 and a zero emissions economy by 2045 as its investor-owned utilities (IOUs) face wildfires and bankruptcy, new and unproven electricity providers proliferate and customers demand a decentralized energy system. What could go wrong?
The key to success is eliminating natural gas as an electricity resource, stakeholders told Utility Dive. To do that, the state must make one fundamental change at the local level and another at the transmission system level.
Together, these changes will remake California’s power sector. And its implementation could be a national guiding force on cost-effectively transitioning from natural gas dependence.
Expanding access to low-cost renewables via “an optimized western regional grid” is key to the transmission system change, electricity system consultant Lorenzo Kristov recently wrote, but it faces political resistance. And local level change will come from coordinating state and local utility planning with broader power system planning to expand distributed energy resource (DER) access, but there is disagreement over how to do it.
Want to know if California can make zero emissions by 2045? Here’s what to watch, by Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive, May 21, 2019.