Publication Detail

California Baseline Energy Demands to 2050 for Advanced Energy Pathways


Research Report

Hydrogen Pathways Program, Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
McCarthy, Ryan W., Christopher Yang, Joan M. Ogden (2008) California Baseline Energy Demands to 2050 for Advanced Energy Pathways. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-08-07


This report covers the development of a baseline scenario for energy demand in California for a projection period to 2050 as part of the Advanced Energy Pathways (AEP) project. The baseline scenario will provide a useful point of comparison for the impacts of choices or changes in policy that can be thought of as alternatives to the current trends. The baseline scenario, described here, covers the State’s main energy demands - electricity, natural gas and transportation fuel - and provides a forecasted demand for each out to the year 2050. It is based, as much as possible, on the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) baseline forecasts. This report will cover the methodology and assumptions for the baseline scenario and review the forecasts and implications. The report is also accompanied by several data files that contain the projections, which can be visualized and disaggregated spatially, temporally and by sector.

Advanced Energy Pathways (AEP) is a project of the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program with contributing researchers from the University of California, Davis (UCD), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) and University of California, Berkeley (UCB). The major objective of the project is to analyze the impacts of alternative energy pathways within the transportation sector on California’s natural gas and electricity sectors within the timeframe of 2005-2050. Several of the alternative transportation energy pathways entail significant changes from the current transportation fuel infrastructure (e.g. hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) and the project will attempt to assess the impacts of such a change on the State’s energy systems.

This baseline scenario is one example of many possible scenarios that characterize the range of possible futures for California. The baseline scenario is not necessarily the most likely of possible scenarios, but rather, it is used to represent a likely future given a continuation of current trends and policies. Alternate scenarios are used to imagine different futures that would require significant shifts from current demographic, societal or policy trends. Each of these energy demand scenarios will be used to provide the inputs to a LLNL computer model that will optimize the structure and layout of the California energy supply system to meet these demands.