The Race Is On for a Clean Energy Future
Edison International’s 'Countdown to 2045' urges a dramatic acceleration in electrification and grid expansion to meet California’s climate goals.
By Casey Wian ENERGIZED by Edison Writer
Ladies and gentlemen, start your electric engines, your offshore wind turbines, next-generation geothermal power plants and home battery storage systems. There’s no checkered flag at the end of this race; something much greater is at stake: the clean energy future of California and, ultimately, the planet.
Edison International’s just-released analysis, "Countdown to 2045: Realizing California’s Pathway to Net Zero," concludes that for the state to achieve its updated net-zero greenhouse gas emission goals in just over two decades, the electric grid must expand faster than ever before while homeowners and businesses must dramatically reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.
“The speed and scale of electrification needed to decarbonize the economy and meet California’s ambitious net-zero goal is dramatic,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “While we have tools available today to achieve significant emissions reduction, "Countdown to 2045" calls for policies that encourage greater investment in and development of emerging technologies. We need to keep all options open to achieve the most feasible and affordable solutions to meet California’s climate targets.”
“We’re really focused on scaling up and increasing the speed of the transition. We have accounted for new policies and the latest climate science, and we’re seeing the need is bigger than ever while there is less and less time remaining,” said Stephen Collins, senior manager of Strategic Planning at Southern California Edison.
Compared to SCE's Pathway 2045 white paper published just four years ago, "Countdown to 2045" sets more aggressive electrification targets for the state. For example:
"Countdown to 2045" Electrification Targets:
- 90% of light- and medium-duty vehicles and more than 50% of heavy-duty vehicles are electric, compared to the approximately 70% and 33%, respectively, called for in Pathway 2045
- 95% of appliances in buildings are electric, compared to 70% previously projected
- Electricity demand is projected to rise by more than 80% compared to today
- The grid must support three times more utility-scale clean energy from resources such as new solar, wind and energy storage projects
“We’re doing this work to help California meet its climate goals, yet the payoff for customers will be seen and felt in the health benefits of lower pollution, greater economic development and job creation opportunities and customer savings from lower overall energy expense,” Pizarro said. “As we expand the grid and add more clean energy resources, customers will enjoy a system that is more reliable and affordable even as they electrify their vehicles, add induction stovetops to their kitchens and install heat pumps to warm and cool their homes and businesses.”
A key factor in "Countdown to 2045’s" accelerated targets is California’s passage last year of Assembly bill 1279, which codified into law the goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 while increasing the pace of mandated emissions reductions. Also, the California Air Resources Board has adopted the Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, establishing that by 2035 all new light-duty passenger cars and trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles. The federal Inflation Reduction Act allocates nearly $400 billion in tax incentives, grants and loan guarantees for clean energy projects nationwide.
“This is intended to shine a very clear light on the challenges ahead. It’s a very ambitious goal that we stand behind,” Collins said.
As "Countdown to 2045" states: “California has already proven itself a climate leader; the ambitious steps described here will set a strong example for others. Without these actions, the state will likely fall short of its goal. Furthermore, a similar transformation is needed worldwide to reduce global GHG emissions at a scale that will meaningfully slow climate change.”
Click here to view Edison International's "Countdown to 2045" news release.
For more on SCE’s clean energy efforts, visit energized.edison.com/cleanenergy.