California energy agency predicts rising power demand
The California Energy Commission (CEC) on Wednesday approved its updated demand forecast, predicting electricity demand will rise in the state. The CEC’s forecasts are used in planning proceedings for the California ISO’s transmission plans and for the state’s Public Utilities Commission for integrated resource and distributed resource planning.
The California Energy Demand Report 2018-2030 Revised Forecast (CED) attributes the increase to “significantly higher projections” for light duty electric vehicles (EVs), higher manufacturing consumption, erosion in savings from energy efficiency programs, and a change in how residential lighting savings are accounted.
The CED also revised noncoincident net peak demand by about 4% over last year’s forecast to reflect a faster growth rate driven by expected growth in solar. The report also notes that climate change will add 475 GWh and 280 GWh to annual consumption and 620 MW and 270 MW to peak demand by 2030 in the high- and mid-demand cases, respectively.
As California utilities move toward a mandate of 50% renewable power by 2030, new analysis from the state's energy commission forecasts EV growth and climate change will likely drive electricity demand upward.
The CED forecasts that electricity demand by 2030 will hit 339,863 GWh under the high demand scenario, 328,215 GWh under the mid-range scenario, and 317,491 GWH under the low growth scenario.
In one scenario, electric vehicles could consume roughly 6,500 GWh by 2030, though the report also says those amounts could be as low as 4,500 GWh. The CEC says “additional electrification” will add another 490 GWh, 260 GWh, and 75 GWh to consumption across its range of scenarios by 2030.
The biggest driver behind the forecasted peak shift is a boost in adoption of solar systems, according to the agency. The reports solar capacity will reach about 26,500 MW, 19,000 MW, and 11,500 MW in the low, mid, and high demand baseline cases, respectively, by 2030. Installed behind-the-meter solar capacity is expected to reach between 5,600 MW and 11,800 MW.
The CEC says the report suggests that a downward trend in greenhouse gas emissions must be initiated in the next three years to avoid extreme climate change impacts, such as the wildfires that recently ravaged the state. The CEC also says the report suggests that the state’s electric grid must evolve to support a low-carbon future that integrates solar and wind energy.
The CED is one of two reports approved by the CEC on Feb. 21. The other is its Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), which assesses and updates major energy trends and issues facing the state’s electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel sectors. The IEPR provides policy recommendations to conserve resources and protect the environment while maintaining energy reliability.
The IEPR also expects community choice aggregation to play an increasingly important role in California’s energy future. But while the CEC expects community choice aggregation to continue to grow, it said would have a “fuller snapshot” of the impact that growth in its next IEPR.
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