California's Renewable Energy Future: Playing a Good Hand Well
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

California's Renewable Energy Future: Playing a Good Hand Well


California will encounter deployment challenges and opportunities as renewable energy penetration into California’s electricity systems increases. Will California’s response require special efforts that complement generic research and technology advancement work of Federal programs? According to the comparisons in the report, yes they will. Such efforts will point the way to a high penetration renewable energy portfolio for California that delivers maximum economic benefit and helps minimize California’s carbon emissions. California’s wind resources are unique, and the mix of onshore and offshore resources likely to develop over the long term poses special questions of integration and assessment. California’s solar resources are exceptional, suggesting a scenario in which California will be the first to encounter the challenges and opportunities of optimizing high penetration deployment across multiple scales and venues of deployment. California’s geothermal resources will be an exceptionally valuable asset, complementing the high penetration deployment of utility scale wind and solar resources, and each major increment of additional supply will require new information and solutions. California’s most opportune biomass feedstock inventories are limited and geographically dispersed but nevertheless an exceptionally valuable asset complementing high penetration deployment of community and building scale solar and wind resources. Referring to published information for the US overall and comparable information from earlier assessments for California, it is possible to identify areas where conclusions for the US as a whole would generally also apply to California, as well as areas where comparable analysis would be needed using California-specific assumptions. California has been dealt a good hand in terms of world class renewable energy resources. Playing it well will require careful attention to the renewable energy deployment factors where California differs from or is unique relative to the rest of the US.

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