Two days after dire climate warnings by the International Panel on Climate Change, the California Energy Commission adopts a long-awaited building energy efficiency code update. It is a big step towards slashing 25% of the state’s carbon emissions produced largely by heating and cooling in buildings. Building decarbonization advocates continue to seek full electrification of new structures. Folded into a new low carbon baseline are efficient heat pumps and mandates for solar and storage in high rise apartments offices, grocery stores, other retail outlets and schools. That’s projected to add a few hundred more megawatts of solar and storage every year.
After the groundbreaking vote, CEC staff warn that next summer the grid may be more strained if the dry spell and intense fires and heat continue. It projects a shortfall in the evening on roasting summer days of up to 5 GW.
An 18-month old, $3.9 billion settlement reached on PG&E’s cost to decommission its Diablo Nuclear Power Plant gets approved under a CPUC proposal.
Negawatts remain the best deal, with a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab analysis making the case again. It finds that saving energy costs less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, with 75% of identified peak savings costing less than $200kW, from 2010-2018.
Down in San Diego, SDG&E pursues green hydrogen projects at its remote microgrid in Borrego Springs and at its 565 MW Palomar Power plant. The small projects, which inch the utility towards decarbonization, are expected to be online next year.