The state must dramatically expand its energy infrastructure and renewable energy sources to satisfy growing demand for electricity while meeting ambitious climate goals, according to California Independent System Operator’s Draft 2022-2023 Transmission Plan.
California has committed to ambitious carbon reduction targets and pledged to become carbon neutral no later than 2045. However, to meet these lofty goals while providing reliable energy for millions, the state must commit to an unprecedented degree of renewable power and transmission line development.
The challenge is highlighted by the Draft 2022-2023 Transmission Plan (Draft Transmission Plan) published on April 3, 2023, by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the independent energy grid operator that serves approximately 80% of California and a small part of Nevada. As of 2018, California had about 80 gigawatts (GW) of total electric generating capacity. CAISO predicts that California will need to almost double that total capacity in the next decade with new renewable generation and greatly expand the transmission grid in order to achieve clean power targets and vast electrification programs as California attempts to phase out fossil fuel usage. This scale of infrastructure buildout will require unprecedented investments, vastly expedited environmental permitting and review by regulatory agencies, and sustained political will to substantially incentivize and streamline priority projects.
This blog post examines the ambitious roadmap outlined in the Draft Transmission Plan, and CAISO’s long-term transmission planning more broadly, to advance California’s climate goals by undertaking 46 transmission projects and adding at least 40 GW, mostly from renewable sources, to the CAISO grid over the next 10 years.