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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project
(2021)

Local Clean Energy Vision for Southern California

solar panels

Group Members: Jordan Isken, Keene Morrow, Audrey Nolan, David Segan, Richard Viebrock

Faculty Advisors: Andrew Plantinga, Kyle C. Meng

Client: The Nature Conservancy, Clean Power Alliance

Website: solsiteproject.weebly.com

Contact: gp‑solsite@bren.ucsb.edu

Deliverables:

Group Project Proposal

Final Report

Executive Summary

Final Presentation

Description

Decarbonization of the electricity sector plays a crucial role in reaching greenhouse gas reduction targets and avoiding climate change-related impacts. In California, organizations such as Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs) are increasing clean energy projects through long-term power purchase agreements. Most utility-scale clean energy projects are located remotely in large centralized developments, but there are opportunities to develop local, smaller scale utility projects. Local projects are generally more expensive due to their smaller size, but there is potential to capture additional benefits to offset capital costs. This project assessed three additional benefits that local clean energy can achieve through strategic siting: improved air quality from displacing natural gas power plants, lower-impact land use, and energy resilience, or power availability during an outage. We analyzed each benefit separately and reached three main conclusions: (1) the procurement of battery storage in the Western Los Angeles Basin reliability subarea can improve air quality in Clean Power Alliance’s (CPA’s) service territory; (2) environmental impact can be reduced by prioritizing development within the built environment where the development avoids competition with existing or potential greenspace and habitat; (3) the value provided by clean backup power systems is locationally dependent due to differing power outage rates.  This information can be utilized to focus energy development in areas that capture benefits beyond reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Acknowledgements

Clean Power Alliance: Natasha Keefer, Karen Schmidt

The Nature Conservancy: Erica Brand, Brian Cohen, Shona Ganguly, Sophie Parker, Margaret Brickner, Stephanie Dashiell

Yardi Systems, Inc.