Decarbonising buildings, transportation and electricity generation from 1990 levels


Research organisation the Clean Energy Transition Institute has issued a new report with recommendations on how US states can achieve their clean energy goals.

The report Meeting the Challenge of Our Time: Pathways to a Clean Energy Future for the Northwest offers roadmaps for decarbonising Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana states.

The study looks at cutting carbon emissions by 86% below 1990 levels by 2050 in buildings, transportation, and electricity generation.

Key findings of the study include:

  1. A nearly 100% clean electricity grid is needed to most efficiently achieve mid-century climate targets; coal is eliminated from the region’s electricity sector and only a small amount of natural gas remains in 2050 to ensure the grid can reliably deliver power during periods of low renewable generation.
  2. Widespread electrification of transportation reduces emissions at the lowest cost. Optimal targets for electrification by 2050 include 100% of passenger (light-duty), 60% of medium-duty and 40% of heavy-duty vehicles by 2050.
  3. Sustainable biomass is best reserved for jet and diesel fuel for aviation and freight, which are harder to electrify at this time.
  4. Increased grid integration with California will lower costs, potentially reducing the cost of decarbonisation by $11.1 billion over the 30-year study period for both the Northwest and California.
  5. Emerging technologies economically utilise excess renewables to help displace fossil fuels and balance demand and supply on the electrical grid. Technologies such as electrolysis, synthetic fuels, and carbon capture will play a growing role after 2040.

Eileen V. Quigley, executive director of the Clean Energy Transition Institute, said: “With federal inaction on climate change, it is up to states and regions to get serious about carbon emission reduction and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

“Now we have a roadmap to understand how to get us there in the Northwest.”

“For the first time, the Northwest has a guide to help policy makers and advocates focus on the best pathways to decarbonize the region,” said Chris Stolte, co-founder of the Stolte Family Foundation and Tableau Software.

Download the report: