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Title: Effects of California's Climate Policy in Facilitating CCUS

California is at the forefront of addressing the challenges involved in redesigning its energy infrastructure to meet 2050 GHG reduction goals, but CCUS commercialization lags in California as it does elsewhere. It is unclear why this is the case given the state’s forefront position in aggressive climate change policy. The intent of this paper is to examine the factors that may explain why CCUS has not advanced as rapidly as other GHG emissions mitigation technologies in California and identify ways by which CCUS commercialization may be advanced in the context of California’s future energy infrastructure. CCUS has application to reduce GHG emissions from the power, industrial and transportation sectors in the state. Efficiency, use of renewable energy or nuclear generation to replace fossil fuels, use of lower or no-net-carbon feedstocks (such as biomass), and use of CCUS on fossil fuel generation are the main options, but California has fewer options for making the deep cuts in CO2 emissions within the electricity sector to meet 2050 goals. California is already the most efficient of all 50 states as measured by electricity use per capita, and, while further efficiency measures can reduce per capita consumption, increasing population is still driving electricity demandmore » upwards. A 1976 law prevents building any new nuclear plants until a federal high-level nuclear waste repository is approved. Most all in-state electricity generation already comes from natural gas; although California does plan to eliminate electricity imports from out-of-state coal-fired generation. Thus, the two options with greatest potential to reduce in-state power sector CO2 emissions are replacing fossil with renewable generation or employing CCUS on natural gas power plants. Although some scenarios call on California to transition its electricity sector to 100 percent renewables, it is unclear how practical this approach is given the intermittency of renewable generation, mismatches between peak generation times and demand times, and the rate of progress in developing technologies for large-scale power storage. Vehicles must be electrified or move to biofuels or zero-carbon fuels in order to decarbonize the transportation sector. These options transfer the carbon footprint of transportation to other sectors: the power sector in the case of electric vehicles and the industrial and agricultural sectors in the case of biofuels or zero-carbon fuels. Thus, the underlying presumption to achieve overall carbon reductions is that the electricity used by vehicles does not raise the carbon emissions of the power sector: biofuel feedstock growth, harvest, and processing uses low carbon energy or production of fuels from fossil feedstocks employs CCUS. This results in future transportation sector energy derived solely from renewables, biomass, or fossil fuel point sources utilizing CCUS. In the industrial sector, the largest contributors to GHG emissions are transportation fuel refineries and cement plants. Emissions from refineries come from on-site power generation and hydrogen plants; while fuel mixes can be changed to reduce the GHG emissions from processing and renewable sources can be used to generate power, total decarbonization requires use of CCUS. Similarly, for cement plants, power generation may use carbon-free feedstocks instead of fossil fuels, but CO2 emissions associated with the manufacture of cement products must be dealt with through CCUS. Of course, another option for these facilities is the purchase of offsets to create a zero-emissions plant.« less
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Global CCS Inst., Chevy Chase, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231; FC26-05NT42593
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy Procedia
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 63; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 1876-6102
Research Org:
National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, and Morgantown, WV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; California Energy Commission; West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership, Sacramento, CA (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY carbon capture; utilization and storage; California; energy policy; climate policy