Southern California Edison today proposed an integrated strategic framework for the state of California to meet its ambitious climate and air quality goals. SCE describes its Clean Power and Electrification Pathway in a white paper released today.
The approach builds upon existing state programs by identifying cost-effective actions to increase clean energy in the electric system and to leverage that clean electricity in the transportation and building sectors to achieve needed emissions reductions. California environmental goals include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050, as well as reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other health-harming pollutants in areas of the state with the highest levels of air pollution by 2032.
“Climate change and air pollution are serious threats that will require the state to transform the way energy is produced and used,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, the parent company of SCE. “California is a global leader in addressing climate change and we will enable those efforts by leading the transformation of the electric industry to better serve our customers, protect the environment and improve public health.”
The integrated approach developed by SCE emphasizes the urgency of implementing the actions outlined. With only 12 years to reach the 2030 target, timely and proactive decisions will have to be made. Policymakers as well as business and community leaders must quickly align on the near-term policies, programs and market changes needed to meet California’s ambitious timeline.
“I am encouraged to see SCE proposing solutions and taking seriously our clean air needs and climate protection goals,” said Joseph Lyou, president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air, and South Coast Air Quality Management District board member.
“SCE’s push to evolve the role of solar energy and the clean energy market will result in making zero emission electric supply available cost effectively for expanded use in transportation, homes and businesses,” said Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar.
The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway calls for three closely linked efforts that support and build upon each other:
Doubling the use of carbon-free electricity from 40 percent today to 80 percent by 2030, supported by energy storage – The electric sector has already reduced GHG emissions below 1990 levels and now accounts for only 19 percent of California’s GHG emissions.
The plan calls for increasing the use of large-scale, carbon-free generation such as wind, solar and large hydroelectric power plants to at least 80 percent of electricity delivered to customers, continued use of distributed rooftop solar and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.
Accelerating the use of electric vehicles, including passenger cars and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, to more than 7 million by 2030 – The transportation sector is the largest source of GHG emissions and local air quality problems, with 40 percent of the goods entering the nation moving through the region’s ports and highways. “It is critical that we work toward providing measurable reductions in air pollution that causes health problems and disproportionately affects communities that are located near transportation corridors with heavy freight movement,” Pizarro said.
To encourage consumer acceptance and adoption of electric vehicles, SCE’s proposal urges development of additional charging infrastructure and continued financial incentives that lower the purchase price of electric vehicles during the early stages of adoption, particularly for low- and middle-income communities.
Increasing electrification of commercial and residential space and water heating – SCE’s plan indicates that the electrification of nearly one-third of residential and commercial space and water heaters, combined with continued improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, could reduce GHG emissions significantly.
The SCE proposal provides continued support for the state’s market-based, cap-and-trade program as a critical component of efforts to reduce GHG emissions, while ensuring that electricity remains affordably priced for utility customers. The proposal also recognizes the importance of geographically diverse sources of renewable energy and regional markets that support affordable, zero carbon energy supplies.
“SCE is dedicated to delivering a clean energy future for California,” said SCE President Ron Nichols. “The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway provides a blueprint to achieve the company’s and the state’s air quality and climate policy goals by building a clean energy economy while creating high-skill middle income jobs. SCE will continue to leverage and expand a wide variety of innovative technologies, including large-scale and customer-sited renewables, energy storage and energy efficiency.”