Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)
Available online at doi:10.1016/j.esr.2011.12.003
McCollum, David L., Christopher Yang, Sonia Yeh, Joan M. Ogden (2012) Deep Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scenarios for California - Strategic Implications from the CA-TIMES Energy-Economic Systems Model. Energy Strategy Reviews 1, 19 - 32
California has taken a leading role in regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, requiring that its economy-wide emissions be brought back down to the 1990 level by 2020. The state also has a long-term, aspirational goal of an 80 percent reduction below the 1990 level by 2050. While the steps needed to achieve the near-term target have already been clearly defined by California policy makers, the suite of transformational technologies and policies required to decarbonize the energy system over the long term have not yet been explored. This paper describes an effort to fill this important gap, introducing CA-TIMES, a bottom-up, technologically-rich, integrated energy-engineering-environmental-economic systems model that has been developed to guide the long-term policy planning process. CA-TIMES is useful for exploring low-carbon scenarios, and the analyses described here focus on the potential evolution of the transportation, fuel supply, and electric generation sectors over the next several decades in response to various energy and climate policies. We find that meeting California’s 80% emission reduction goal can be achieved through a combination of mitigation strategies, including managing the growth in energy service demand, increasing investments in efficiency and low-carbon energy supply technologies, and promoting demand technologies that facilitate end-use device electrification and a decrease in the direct use of hydrocarbon fuels through efficiency improvement and fuel switching. In such deep emission reduction scenarios, we estimate that energy system costs (accounting for investments on the energy supply side and in transportation demand technologies, as well as fuel and O&M costs) could be around 8e17% higher than in a reference case. Meanwhile, average abatement costs could range from $107 to $225/tCO2. These estimates are very much dependent on a range of socio-political and technological uncertainties, for instance, the availability and cost of biomass, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, and electric and hydrogen vehicles.
Keywords: energy modeling, energy scenarios, climate change mitigation, transportation, alternative fuels