• We model the California Energy System to 2050 under policy and technology scenarios.
• The model optimizes technology and resource investments to meet emissions targets.
• Deep emissions cuts (>74%) are achieved across all reduction scenarios.
• Carbon capture enables negative emission biofuels and allows more petroleum use.
• Greenhouse gas mitigation cost is small compared with total economic activity.
The CA-TIMES optimization model of the California Energy System (v1.5) is used to understand how California can meet the 2050 targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (80% below 1990 levels). This model represents energy supply and demand sectors in California and simulates the technology and resource requirements needed to meet projected energy service demands. The model includes assumptions on policy constraints, as well as technology and resource costs and availability. Multiple scenarios are developed to analyze the changes and investments in low-carbon electricity generation, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in transportation, resource utilization, and efficiency improvements across many sectors. Results show that major energy transformations are needed but that achieving the 80% reduction goal for California is possible at reasonable average carbon reduction cost ($9 to $124/tonne CO2e at 4% discount rate) relative to a baseline scenario. Availability of low-carbon resources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), biofuels, wind and solar generation, and demand reduction all serve to lower the mitigation costs, but CCS is a key technology for achieving the lowest mitigation costs.
a Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, 1715 Tilia Street, Davis, CA 95616, USA
b International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Laxenburg 2361, Austria
Volume 77, February 2015, Pages 118–130
Keywords: Carbon emissions; Optimization; Electricity; Transportation; Fuels; Energy services