A wind farm. Photo from Pixabay.
A wind farm. Photo from Pixabay.

Southern California Edison Tuesday unveiled a plan to battle air pollution and the “serious threat” of climate change by “leading the transformation of the electric industry.”

The rather bureaucratic statement sets forth a Clean Power and Electrification Pathway, which Edison calls a strategic framework for the state of California to meet its climate and air quality goals.

“The approach builds upon existing state programs by identifying cost- effective actions to increase clean energy in the electric system and to leverage that clean electricity in the transportation and building sectors to achieve needed emissions reductions,” SCE said in a statement released from its headquarters in Rosemead.

California environmental goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050. It also includes reducing by 2032 nitrogen oxides and other health-harming pollutants in areas of the state with the highest levels of air pollution.

“Climate change and air pollution are serious threats that will require the state to transform the way energy is produced and used,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International, SCE’s parent company. “California is a global leader in addressing climate change and we will enable those efforts by leading the transformation of the electric industry to better serve our customers, protect the environment and improve public health.”

SCE said that, with only 12 years to reach the 2030 target, policymakers and business and community leaders “must quickly align on the near-term policies, programs and market changes needed to meet California’s ambitious timeline.”

Joseph Lyou, president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air and a South Coast Air Quality Management District board member, praised SCE.

“I am encouraged to see SCE proposing solutions and taking seriously our clean air needs and climate protection goals,” he said.

SCE’s Clean Power and Electrification Pathway calls for three linked efforts that build upon each other:

– Doubling the use of carbon-free electricity from 40 percent Tuesday to 80 percent by 2030, supported by energy storage. The electric sector has already reduced greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels and now accounts for only 19 percent of such emissions in California, said SCE. Its plan calls for increasing the use of large-scale, carbon-free generation such as wind, solar and large hydroelectric power plants to at least 80 percent of electricity delivered to customers, continued use of distributed rooftop solar and doubling energy efficiency by 2030;

– Accelerating the use of electric vehicles, including passenger cars and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, to more than 7 million by 2030;

– Increasing electrification of commercial and residential space and water heating. SCE said its plan indicates that the electrification of nearly one-third of residential and commercial space and water heaters, combined with continued improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, could reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

The SCE proposal supports the state’s market-based, cap-and-trade program as a critical component of efforts to reduce GHG emissions, while ensuring that electricity remains affordably priced for utility customers.

“SCE is dedicated to delivering a clean energy future for California,” said SCE President Ron Nichols. “The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway provides a blueprint to achieve the company’s and the state’s air quality and climate policy goals by building a clean energy economy while creating high- skill middle-income jobs.”

–Staff and wire reports

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