The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has released ‘California's Energy Future – The View to 2050,’ which looks a generation ahead at what is required to reach the state's goal of reducing emissions 80% below 1995 levels by 2050.
The report finds that the technology that is necessary to do more with less energy in order to produce the electricity and fuel needed to get to the 60% mark is either in demonstration or already in use.Â
Pushing on to a full 80% reduction in emissions will require significant levels of research, development, invention and innovation, the report states. In addition, the total commitment necessary to achieve this accelerated pace will require strong societal and policy backing.
The report strongly recommends the development of multiple solutions, making it clear that no single approach will take the state to a future nearly free of fossil-fuel emissions.Â
The report states that getting to the 60% mark, on technology either at commercial scale or in development, can be accomplished through four key strategies, including the following:
– Aggressive efficiency measures for buildings, industry and transportation to reduce the need for both electricity and fuel;
– Electrification of transportation and heat wherever technically feasible to avoid fossil fuel use as much as possible;
– Developing emission-free electricity production with some combination of renewable energy, nuclear power and fossil fuel accompanied by underground storage of the carbon dioxide emissions, while at the same time nearly doubling electricity production; and
– Finding supplies of low-carbon fuel to supply transportation and heat use, which cannot be electrified.Â
California has enough renewable resources, such as wind, solar and geothermal, to supply all of the state's projected electricity needs in 2050, except for the fact that many of these resources are intermittent, according to the report.
The report was funded by the California Energy Commission, S.D. Bechtel Foundation, and the California Air Resources Board and completed by a committee of volunteers from major energy research institutions in the state.