SEATTLE, June 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Dramatic cuts in carbon emissions are possible in the Northwest at modest capital costs and will generate long-term savings for consumers, according to a new report released today.
The first analysis to look economy-wide at Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana—Meeting the Challenge of Our Time: Pathways to a Clean Energy Future for the Northwest—offers a roadmap for decarbonizing the region. The report, a deep decarbonization pathways study, looks at trade-offs and opportunities to cut carbon emissions 86% below 1990 levels by 2050 in buildings, transportation, and electricity generation.
"With federal inaction on climate change, it is up to states and regions to get serious about carbon emission reduction and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy," said Eileen V. Quigley, executive director of the Clean Energy Transition Institute, which commissioned the report. "Now we have a roadmap to understand how to get us there in the Northwest."
Key findings include the following:
- A nearly 100% clean electricity grid is needed to most efficiently achieve mid-century climate targets; coal is eliminated from the region's electricity sector and only a small amount of natural gas remains in 2050 to ensure the grid can reliably deliver power during periods of low renewable generation.
- Widespread electrification of transportation reduces emissions at the lowest cost. Optimal targets for electrification by 2050 include 100% of passenger (light-duty), 60% of medium-duty and 40% of heavy-duty vehicles by 2050.
- Sustainable biomass is best reserved for jet and diesel fuel for aviation and freight, which are harder to electrify at this time.
- Increased grid integration with California will lower costs, potentially reducing the cost of decarbonization by $11.1 billion over the 30-year study period for both the Northwest and California.
- Emerging technologies economically utilize excess renewables to help displace fossil fuels and balance demand and supply on the electrical grid. Technologies such as electrolysis, synthetic fuels, and carbon capture will play a growing role after 2040.
"For the first time, the Northwest has a guide to help policy makers and advocates focus on the best pathways to decarbonize the region," said Chris Stolte, co-founder of the Stolte Family Foundation and Tableau Software.
Download the report: https://www.cleanenergytransition.org/meeting-the-challenge.
The Clean Energy Transition Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research organization https://www.cleanenergytransition.org/.
SOURCE Clean Energy Transition Institute