California Solution: Decommission Gas by 2045? September 14 2020
Researchers at Energy and Environment Economics (E3) mapped out several paths for the California Air Resources Board in their recent report Achieving Carbon Neutrality in California. In this report, E3 evaluates three different scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045: "Zero Carbon Energy," "Balanced," and "High Carbon Dioxide Removal." Each varied in how much it relies on directly cutting fossil fuel emissions (such as electrifying buildings) versus relying upon carbon dioxide removal strategies (such as direct air capture and land-based carbon sinks).
This report adds to a growing body of work that makes clear that aggressive building electrification is required to truly tackle climate change.
One of the key takeaways from the E3 report is that aggressive building electrification is considered a "least-regret" strategy to get to carbon neutrality by 2045, meaning it's required for the state to reach its carbon goals in a cost-effective manner. In all three paths to carbon neutrality that E3 evaluated, the retail natural gas distribution system will need to undergo "a significant reduction in use," and one of the scenarios recommends the complete decommissioning of the system by 2045."
The table below (from page 35 of the Achieving Carbon Neutrality in California report) shows the differing needs for switching to electric appliances based on the three scenarios. The graph below (from the Rocky Mountain Institute report) shows how the electrical appliance sales might change over time based on the "Balanced" scenario.
Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons for this tip.