Climate 411

Strategies and Principles to Decarbonize Your Local Gas Utility

Natural gas pipelines

Photo Credit: Canva

This blog was co-authored by Jolette Westbrook, Director and Senior Attorney, Equitable Regulatory Solutions.

“What will it take to decarbonize the gas distribution system?” That was the key question that a group of stakeholders from the non-profit and utility sectors across the United States tried to answer over the last year. There are many changes required to decarbonize a system that is currently designed around the transport and distribution of a fossil fuel. So how do we do it?

In the first convening of its kind at a national scale, these stakeholders produced a new report setting out guiding principles and strategies to inform decarbonization of the gas utility and corresponding end uses. Despite uncertainties about particular technologies, fuels, and customer adoption, all of the roundtable stakeholders share the belief that urgent action is necessary. The report provides key considerations for policymakers and regulators on how to navigate this transition that will guide future utility investment and decision-making toward economy-wide decarbonization.

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets, Cities and states, Clean Power Plan, Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Policy / Comments are closed

Growing the California Grid

Photo of a solar farm with a city skyline in the background

California’s electric grid is amongst the cleanest in the country, and it’s getting even cleaner. The state recently cemented our clean energy policy leadership by requiring 90% zero-carbon electricity sales by 2035, and 95% by 2040. Given the long-lived nature of energy infrastructure, these dates are not some far off future problem — the first of these milestones is just around the corner.

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Posted in California, Cities and states, Energy, Policy / Comments are closed

The scoop on the Scoping Plan: California’s plan falls short in ensuring equitable access to an affordable, clean and safe energy system (Part 2)

In May, the California Air Resources Board released the draft 2022 Climate Change Scoping Plan, a roadmap that will guide the state toward meeting its 2030 emissions target and achieving net-zero emissions no later than 2045. This four-part series will unpack several key aspects of the plan and evaluate whether they raise California’s climate ambition to the levels needed to protect communities from the worst climate impacts.

The draft Scoping Plan released by CARB last month attempts to address important climate issues across many sectors in California, including equitable access to an affordable, clean, and safe energy system. As the plan appropriately notes, “a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity grid will serve as a backbone to support deep decarbonization across California’s economy.”

Unfortunately, the recommended actions for the electricity sector are insufficient. CARB needs to increase its ambition in order to fulfill the promise of an affordable, clean and reliable energy system. This includes clearly setting a goal of 0MMT or zero emissions from electricity generation no later than 2045 with direction for planning agencies to establish interim targets and front-loaded actions to measure that progress.

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Posted in California, Greenhouse Gas Emissions / Read 1 Response