Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS)
Yang, Christopher, Sonia Yeh, Kalai Ramea, Saleh Zakerinia, Alan Jenn, David S. Bunch (2016) Modeling of Greenhouse Gas Reductions Options and Policies for California to 2050: Analysis and Model Development Using the CA-TIMES Model. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-16-09
Energy system modeling has been used around the world to analyze how specific regions could make major shifts in the energy system to adopt low-carbon options and reduce the threat of anthropogenic climate change. Energy system modeling can help us understand the nature of the technological, resource and behavioral changes that are needed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
CA-TIMES is a model of the California energy system that has been under development for almost a decade and was inspired by the ambitious targets that were put forward by the Governor of California in 2005 and 2006, and the passage of AB 32. Governor Schwarzenegger laid out an extremely ambitious target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. This target laid out a grand challenge for the state of how to achieve a major transformation of the energy system to reduce the amount of energy the state and rely on low carbon energy sources. There is a significant amount of uncertainty about the evolution of the energy system many decades in the future, so the initial goal of analyses tasked with answering questions about meeting these targets was to understand what sorts of possible futures might conceivably meet the GHG goals. Among these possible futures, a next step was to identify the lowest-cost way (or relatively inexpensive ways) to achieve these goals. A number of modeling and system analyses have been performed over the years with the goal of improving our understanding of the mitigation options for California.
The work and analysis described in this report is the third stage of development of the CA-TIMES model, an energy system optimization model for analyzing technology and resource investments and utilization to meet these GHG targets.