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Essay by Eric Worrall

According to “Energy Innovation” and Telos Energy, California can improve grid stability and hit green energy targets by shutting down most remaining fossil fuel capacity, and fully committing to a green energy grid.

California Can Reliably Hit 85% Clean Energy By 2030 Without Risking Outages – En Route To A 100% Clean Grid

Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology Contributor

We Are A Nonpartisan Climate Policy Think Tank Helping Policymakers Make Informed Energy Policy Choices And Accelerate Clean Energy By Supporting The Policies That Most Effectively Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. 

Eric Gimon Contributor Senior Fellow

Power crises during California’s August 2020 heat waves raised questions about how reliable the state’s grid will be on the road to its target of 100% clean energy by 2045. 

But new research provides clear answers: California can reliably achieve an 85% clean electricity grid by 2030 with a diverse mix of renewables and batteries, flexible demand, trade with neighboring states, and some existing power plants—under multiple build-out assumptions and possible future conditions. It turns out a cleaner grid is a more reliable grid.

The technical report provides a novel methodology to help policymakers rapidly evaluate many future resource portfolios and assumptions to secure a future clean energy grid. By including scenarios and sensitivities that examine reliability using details like hourly wind and solar data matched to hourly demand data for eight possible years across the Western U.S., modelers can compare benefits of different resource portfolios relatively quickly and at low cost. 

An equitable clean electricity transition depends upon investing in, and creating markets for economically viable clean energy portfolios that help retire natural gas units harming California’s most pollution-burdened communities. A just transition for impacted communities also includes increasing community resiliency, building clean resources with job and economic benefits, and using local consultation in selecting new investments.

The technical study’s multiple scenarios found that the state’s grid would be reliable even after retiring 11.5 gigawatts (GW), or about one third of California’s existing gas capacity. Though beyond the scope of the technical study, the companion policy report recommends prioritizing retiring gas plants located near or in disadvantaged communities no later than 2030, while zeroing out the state’s reliance on gas as soon as possible. Some agencies including the CPUC, have made some progress with inclusivity and environmental justice, but stalled efforts to retire gas show there’s more work yet to do. 

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2022/05/11/california-can-reliably-hit-85-clean-energy-by-2030-without-risking-outages–en-route-to-a-100-clean-grid/

The full report is available here – and – big surprise – it contains a bunch of weasel words.

“… There is a continued need for gas generation or economic imports to serve load from the summer through to winter. …”.

… While the study suggests a 85% clean electricity target can be reliable, further work should explore the impacts of transmission congestion through nodal analysis, and the impacts of inverter based resources on grid stability. …

What can I say. California seems utterly determined to be the next pauper state.

We’ve all read histories of the fall of the Roman Empire, Imperial China, or other great powers, and marvelled at the foolish decisions which led to collapse, but one thing which isn’t always clear from just reading the books is the momentum behind such foolishness, the depth, the sheer dogged determination of large groups of people to act against their own national interest. It is not just the leaders of failing states who make bad decisions, it is their entire support network, a juggernaut of arrogance and delusion, which leads to the ultimate downfall.

I think it is worth continuing to try. Sometimes nations on the brink make the right decisions, and pull back from disaster. Sometimes the emperor realises he has no clothes.

But anyone with an ounce of engineering talent can see where California’s ruinous policies could lead, the human tragedy in the making, how close California and other green states are to losing all the security and comfort their parents and grandparents worked their butts off to provide.

via Watts Up With That?

May 12, 2022