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 will focus on some of the technical issues related to reaching these 100% targets given our current infrastructure. Specific research questions are under development based off of inputs from our Corporate Partners and will be posted in November.

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.

The Corporate Partners Program will be hosting an end of the year event on this topic in May, which will feature products from student researchers (projects listed below).

2019-2020 Research Topics

Supply chain considerations in renewable energy

Key innovations for renewable energy in an urban setting 

Opportunities for re-entry populations in green jobs