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  • Writer's pictureBen Haley

Northwest Deep Decarbonization

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

The Clean Energy Transition Institute (CETI) released Meeting the Challenge of Our Time: Pathways to a Clean Energy Future for the Northwest, the first study to examine the technical and economic feasibility of achieving deep decarbonization in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Evolved Energy Research was engaged by CETI to evaluate roadmaps to achieve steep reductions in energy-related CO2 emissions for states in the Northwest and outline the practical implications of achieving mid-century climate targets.

Our technical analysis employs state-of-the-art analytical tools developed by EER to address key questions for the Northwest. We determined the lowest cost energy supply decisions for each state, including investments in electricity infrastructure, fuels infrastructure and hourly electricity system operations using the Regional Investment and Operations (RIO) model. This approach identifies the extent to which the electricity sector needs to be decarbonized in the context of economy-wide goals and the optimal allocation of scarce biomass resources. Key findings from the study include:

• A nearly 100% clean electricity grid is required to enable decarbonization across all sectors • The optimal use of sustainable biomass resources is developing liquid biofuels for hard-to-electrify transportation end-uses • Flexible electricity demand, notably from facilities that produce hydrogen and synthetic natural gas, play a large role in electricity balancing and energy system-wide carbon mitigation • Increased transmission and coordinated resource planning between the Northwest and California could allow both regions to achieve deep decarbonization at lower costs • Failure to achieve aggressive end-use electrification or restricting the availability of sustainable biomass resources would necessitate additional energy infrastructure and costs that could be considered prohibitive in implementation

Download the technical report.

The complete study and supporting materials are available here.

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