Low Carbon Grid Study: Analysis of a 50% Emission Reduction in California

Gregory Brinkman, Jennie Jorgenson, Ali Ehlen, James Caldwell

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The California 2030 Low Carbon Grid Study (LCGS) analyzes the grid impacts of a variety of scenarios that achieve 50% carbon emission reductions from California's electric power sector. Impacts are characterized based on several key operational and economic metrics, including production costs, emissions, curtailment, and impacts on the operation of gas generation and imports. The modeling results indicate that achieving a low-carbon grid (with emissions 50% below 2012 levels) is possible by 2030 with relatively limited curtailment (less than 1%) if institutional frameworks are flexible. Less flexible institutional frameworks and a less diverse generation portfolio could lead to higher curtailment (up to 10%), operational costs (up to $800 million higher), and carbon emissions (up to 14% higher).
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages68
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Executive Summary (7 pp.) available at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/64884-01.pdf; Appendix: Modeling Assumptions and Results (39 pp.) available at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy16osti/64884-02.pdf

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-64884


  • California
  • integration study
  • LCGS
  • Low Carbon Grid Study
  • RPS


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