Air Quality and Public Health Co-Benefits of 100% Renewable Electricity Adoption and Electrification Pathways in Los Angeles: Article No. 034015

Yun Li, Vikram Ravi, Garvin Heath, Jiachen Zhang, Pouya Vahmani, Sang-Mi Lee, Xinqiu Zhang, Kelly Sanders, George Ban-Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To demonstrate how a mega city can lead in decarbonizing beyond legal mandates, the city of Los Angeles (LA) developed science-based, feasible pathways towards utilizing 100% renewable energy for its municipally-owned electric utility. Aside from decarbonization, renewable energy adoption can lead to co-benefits such as improving urban air quality from reductions in combustion-related emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and others. Herein, we quantify changes to air pollutant concentrations and public health from scenarios of 100% renewable electricity adoption in LA in 2045, alongside aggressive electrification of end-use sectors. Our analysis suggests that while ensuring reliable electricity supply, reductions in emissions of air pollutants associated with the 100% renewable electricity scenarios can lead to 8% citywide reductions of PM2.5 concentration while increasing ozone concentration by 5% relative to a 2012 baseline year, given identical meteorology conditions. The combination of these concentration changes could result in net monetized public health benefits (driven by avoided deaths) of up to $1.4 billion in year 2045 in LA, results potentially replicable for other city-scale decarbonization scenarios.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-88244

Keywords

  • air quality
  • climate change
  • Los Angeles
  • public health
  • renewable energy adoption

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