A roadmap for repowering California for all purposes with wind, water, and sunlight

by Dr. Mark Z. Jacobson
A roadmap for repowering California for all purposes with wind, water, and sunlight

A roadmap for repowering California

This study presents a roadmap for converting California's all-purpose (electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) energy infrastructure to one derived entirely from wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) generating electricity and electrolytic hydrogen. California's available WWS resources are first evaluated. A mix of WWS generators is then proposed to match projected 2050 electric power demand after all sectors have been electrified. The plan contemplates all new energy from WWS by 2020, 80-85% of existing energy converted by 2030, and 100% by 2050. Electrification plus modest efficiency measures may reduce California's end-use power demand ~44% and stabilize energy prices since WWS fuel costs are zero. Several methods discussed should help generation to match demand. A complete conversion in California by 2050 is estimated to create ~220,000 more 40-year jobs than lost, eliminate ~12,500 (3800-23,200) state air-pollution premature mortalities/yr, avoid $103 (31-232) billion/yr in health costs, representing 4.9 (1.5-11.2)% of California's 2012 gross domestic product, and reduce California's 2050 global climate cost contribution by $48 billion/yr. The California air-pollution health plus global climate cost benefits from eliminating California emissions could equal the $1.1 trillion installation cost of 603 GW of new power needed for a 100% all-purpose WWS system within ~7 (4-14) years.

This study presented a proposed roadmap for converting California's energy infrastructure for all purposes into a clean and sustainable one powered by wind, water, and sunlight producing electricity and electrolytic hydrogen. It evaluated California WWS resources and proposed a mix of WWS generators that could match projected 2050 demand. It evaluated the areas required, potential of the generators to match demand (relying on previous optimization model results), direct, air pollution, and climate cost changes, and net jobs created from such a conversion.

Mark Z. Jacobson’s career has focused on better understanding air pollution and global warming problems and developing large-scale clean, renewable energy solutions to them. Toward that end, he has developed and applied three-dimensional atmosphere-biosphere-ocean computer models and solvers to simulate air pollution, weather, climate, and renewable energy. He has also developed roadmaps to transition states and countries to 100% clean, renewable energy for all purposes and computer models to examine grid stability in the presence of high penetrations of renewable energy.

Learn more about Dr. Jacobson

This study was not funded by any interest group, company, or government agency