renewable energy: 2019-2020 focus

Research Project | 2019

Renewable Energy: 2019-2020 Focus

Policymakers are pushing to not just increase integration of renewable energy, but to transform our energy systems into systems dominated by renewables at local, state, and national levels. LA’s Green New Deal, part of the 2019 update to Sustainable City pLAn, sets goals for LADWP to supply 100% renewable energy by 2045. In California, the passage of SB 100 in 2018 set a statewide target of 100% renewable, carbon free electricity by 2045. Nationally, the Federal Green New Deal has yet to be signed into legislation, but the latest version calls for 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030.

While these ambitious policy targets are an important primer for transformation of our energy sector, it is important to note the complexity and scale of getting to ‘100%’. Currently, 29% of LA’s electricity comes from renewables, with the percentage for California slightly higher at 31%. This means that we have a significant gap to fill – that will require investment beyond just renewable production capacity. Adaptations to existing electric grid infrastructure will be required to support this transition. Given the variability of energy production from renewable sources like wind and solar, energy storage capacity in particular becomes an enabling factor for any significant increase in renewable energy loads.

This year’s research program focused on some of the technical issues related to reaching these 100% targets given our current infrastructure. 

A kickoff event on the topic of Energy Storage Solutions was held on October 23rd, featuring a panel of executives from SUMEC North America, Natron Energy, and Energy Everywhere. A summary of the event can be found here.

In the second half of the year, three teams of CPP undergraduate researchers tackled specific research questions inspired by conversations at the kickoff event and input from our partners. Summaries of the research findings are provided below. Full versions of the report are available to our membership here


2019-2020 Research Topics


Is Solar the “Free Energy Lunch” of a Decarbonized World?

Researchers: Alice Blackorby & Arushi Sinha


Accelerating the Urban Transition to 100% Renewable Energy

Researchers: Madeleine Farrington & Mingyi Chen


Full report: Facilitating Reentry of Justice-Involved Individuals into the Green Workforce: Case Studies and Best Practices

1-page summary

Researchers: Claire Hirashiki