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University of Southern California researchers showed the road to Los Angeles without emissions

Los Angeles could be supplied with completely renewable energy without major disruption to the economy or lifestyles over the next 25 years, if not earlier, according to new research by USC experts for the city and the federal government.

The new “Los Angeles Study of 100% Renewable Energy” was released Wednesday by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The report concludes that the city may reach its ambitious goal of converting fully to renewable energy by 2045 through the rapid deployment of wind energy, solar energy, electricity storage, and other technologies.

Moreover, the study says that by 2030, the electric power generation sector could achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions – from 76% to 99% below 2020 levels – if learner independence begins in earnest now.

The study was prepared in partnership between the City’s Water and Energy Department and NREL. University of Southern California professors at the Price School of Public Policy and Viterby School of Engineering contributed to the report, as well as experts at other universities.

“We can have 100% renewable energy by 2045. That will be difficult, but it can be done,” said Kelly Sanders, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Viterby School. “We have the technical capacity to do that, and that will involve a lot of changes that will affect everything from water supply to buildings, transportation to energy production.”

The study addresses issues including: The best way to access reliable and cost-effective 100% renewable energy. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions; Health and economic impacts; And its impacts on low-income and underprivileged societies. Currently, the city gets about half of its energy from carbon-free energy.

Contributing professors include University of Southern California Sanders and George Pan Weiss of the USC Viterbi School, and Adam Rose and Dan Wei of the Price School of Public Policy and the Schwarzenegger Institute. Professors at Colorado State University have also contributed.

Here is a summary of the findings of the University of Southern California researchers:

Economy and jobs. University of Southern California researchers predict that Los Angeles’ shift to renewable energy will have minimal impact on the economy. The job impacts will be minimal in percentage terms as the region’s economy is so huge. The economists’ model at the University of Southern California shows, in a worst-case scenario, that average annual job losses could be around 3,600 over the entire planning period. But the moderate scenario shows gains of about 4,700 jobs per year between 2026 and 2045. The differences depend on a combination of factors, including the year of 100% renewable energy compliance, whether the use of tradable renewable energy credits is permitted, and whether biofuels are. Included in the technology mix and other factors. Either way, these effects reflect less than half of 1% changes in the Los Angeles economy.

Researchers plan about 8,600 construction jobs annually to build production and transmission facilities for wind, solar and geothermal energy. An additional 2,000 maintenance tasks will accrue from 2026-2045.

For the different alternative technology scenarios examined in the study, there could be slight positive or negative impacts compared to the minimum compliance scenario, but the changes are small compared to the 3.9 million jobs and $ 200 billion in annual output in the Los Angeles economy in general and “And thus have almost no effect,” Wei said.

water supplies. Ensuring a safe and reliable water supply in Los Angeles will cost DWP more energy in the future. The challenge is Los Angeles’ Green New Deal, which aims to save 70% of city water domestically and recycle all city wastewater by 2035, according to the study. However, since water can be treated and stored, the water sector could be a valuable asset for integrating large portions of renewable energy into the grid if the electricity consumed for treatment and pumping can be timed with periods when wind and solar energy are abundant.

Although less electricity will be required to transport water from the Colorado River or Owens Valley, reducing water imports by creating more domestic water supplies will require more electricity from locally sourced DWPs to develop new local water projects through advanced water treatment. Sanitation, groundwater recharge, and stormwater water recycling projects and management. LA100 predicts that by 2050, the total electricity a city consumes for its water system could increase 3 to 5 times current levels to meet sustainable water goals. In general, the projected water load percentage will grow slightly from about 1.3% to 3.2% during the study period.

Air quality and health. Zero emissions technologies are good news for air quality and health. The researchers found that nitrogen oxide emissions from the sectors examined in the study could decrease by 86% to 95%, depending on the path taken. Fine particulate matter or PM2.5 can be reduced by 38% to 62%. Emissions are reduced through the electrification of vehicles, buildings, and the port.

Air pollution improvements will save lives and reduce pollution-induced diseases. “The sky will be noticeable, it will look cleaner,” said Ban Weiss, a professor at the University of Southern California.

The LA100 study looked at a range of issues affecting transformation: the electrical grid, transportation, buildings, water, jobs, economics, demographics, air quality and health, greenhouse gas emissions, and environmental justice. SB100 state law requires that 100% renewable energy and carbon-free resources be provided from electrical retail sales to end customers by 2045.

NREL is the primary energy management laboratory for clean energy sources. The LA100 study is NREL’s largest and most complex report for the municipality, due in part to the size of Los Angeles and the fact that the city’s facility, DWP, has its own generation, transmission, and distribution system. It is hoped that the study will assist other major cities in similar efforts, as outlined in the Biden Administration’s plan for sustainable infrastructure and the transition to clean energy.

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Gary Pollakovitch
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