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Modeling Optimal Transition Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy in California: California TIMES (CA-TIMES) Model


Research Report

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)

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Suggested Citation:
Yang, Christopher, Sonia Yeh, Kalai Ramea, Saleh Zakerinia, David L. McCollum, David S. Bunch, Joan M. Ogden (2014) Modeling Optimal Transition Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy in California: California TIMES (CA-TIMES) Model. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-14-04

An optimization model of the California Energy System (CA-TIMES) is used to understand how California can meet the 2050 targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (80% below 1990 levels). This model represents energy supply (energy resources, electricity generation, and fuel production and infrastructure) and energy demand (commercial, residential, transportation, industrial and agriculture sectors) in California and simulates the technology and resource requirements needed to meet projected energy service demands. These model choices vary based upon policy constraints (e.g., a carbon cap, fuel economy standards, renewable electricity requirements), as well as technology and resource costs and availability. Multiple scenarios are developed to analyze the changes and investments in low-carbon electricity generation, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in transportation, resource utilization, and efficiency improvements across many sectors. Results show that major energy transformations are needed but that achieving the 80% reduction goal for California is possible at reasonable average carbon reduction cost (-$75 to $124/tonne CO2 discounted cost) relative to the baseline scenarios. Availability of low-carbon resources such as nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration, and increased availability of biofuels and wind and solar generation all serve to lower the mitigation costs.
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