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CARB publishes 2020 CI values for electricity as transportation fuel: average 82.92 gCO2e/MJ, up from 2019

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Officer has certified the 2020 annual update to the carbon intensities (CI) of the lookup table pathways for a) California Average Grid Electricity Used as a Transportation Fuel in California and b) Electricity Supplied under the Smart Charging or Smart Electrolysis Provision.

The updated pathway CI values are available for quarterly fuel reporting under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in 2020, beginning with Q1.

The CI of California average grid electricity used as a transportation fuel in California for 2020 is 82.92 gCO2e/MJ. This represents a slight increase over the CI of 81.49 gCO2e/MJ used in 2019.


Natural gas accounted for 45.44% of the power mix in California in 2018— an increase from 42.93% the year before.

The CI for the smart charging or smart electrolysis provision varies by time of day (using an hourly window) and quarter. It ranges from a low of 27.30 gCO2e/MJ for the window from 12:01 pm to 2:00 pm in Q1 to a high of 143.40 gCO2e/MJ from 7:01 to 8:00 pm in Q3.

These CIs are updated annually to reflect the decreasing CI of California grid electricity driven by increasing contributions from renewables in the California electricity mix due to mandates driven by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the inclusion of Cap-and-Trade carbon pricing in dispatch models, as well as other structural or systemic changes.

The current certified average CI—based on the average crude oil supplied to California refineries and average California refinery efficiencies—of CARBOB—the standard grade of gasoline supplied to the California market— is 100.82 gCO2e/MJ.



If there are more and more "renewables" on the California grid, why did the CI go up?

Nick Lyons

@EP: If I had to guess, and looking at the graph, large hydro (imports from Pacific NW) declined, natural gas increased, coal is already marginal. Just wait until the ill-advised shutdown of Diablo Canyon in 2025.


You just made me go post one on r/Jokes.


"CO2e is calculated by multiplying the emissions of each of the six greenhouse gases by its 100 year global warming potential (GWP)."


“ Just wait until the ill-advised shutdown of Diablo Canyon in 2025.”

In spite of increasing population and GDP CA electricity usage has been decreasing by ~2% per year largely due to efficiency measures. At that pace over the next five years usage will decline by more than the annual output of DCNR. Although well run DCNR is not cost competitive and is only suitable for base load. The fact that it does not scale down well is problematic. If someone else were willing to contract for DCNR’s output at 8 cents per kWh they would likely keep it running longer.

The increase in


Commiefornia is claiming to be aiming for a hydrogen economy based on electrolysis using excess "renewable energy" as the dump load.  If the state actually expects to decarbonize, using electrolyzers as the dump loads for DCNPP would be a much faster route than demanding it shut down.

The state is doing the opposite, proving that neither the climate nor air quality are actually their interests.  Selling natural gas is.


CA is a large state. So large it is served by multiple large IOUs. Diablo Canyon is operated by PG&E. PG&E’s percentage of electricity from NG dropped from 20% to 15%. That contradicts your tin hat theory.

Your utility probably burns a much higher percentage of coal. Your state if Typical also probably consumes Much more electricity per dollar of GDP. Efficiency measures are more cost effective than nuclear power.


California get most of its NG from outside the state.

PG&E’s percentage of electricity from NG dropped from 20% to 15%.

Then why did the statewide CI go up?


This linked article says...
"..higher market prices enable lower-efficiency generators to operate.."
Inefficient peak plants can do that.


So what cleaner generation disappeared to allow those high prices?

You claim to be logical, SJC.  Now's the time to prove it.


i believe the 2020 CI is based on data from 2018 which is the most recent data available from CEC. This also explains the dates on the graph. Nick correctly pointed out that large scale hydro dropped from 14.7% to 10.7%. 2020’s electricity from coal will drop by about 50% but that won’t be reflected in CARB’s CI until 2022.

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