Optimal Energy Portfolios to Sustain Economic Advantage, Achieve GHG Targets, and Minimize PM2.5.

EPA Grant Number: R835879
Title: Optimal Energy Portfolios to Sustain Economic Advantage, Achieve GHG Targets, and Minimize PM2.5.
Investigators: Kleeman, Michael J. , Chen, Shu-Hua , Muller, Nicholas , Ogden, Joan , Yeh, Sonia
Institution: University of California - Davis , Middlebury College
EPA Project Officer: Keating, Terry
Project Period: April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2019
Project Amount: $790,000
RFA: Particulate Matter and Related Pollutants in a Changing World (2014) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Climate Change


This research will identify major sources and composition of PM2.5 and related pollutants in the year 2050 resulting from different energy portfolios that optimize economic outcomes under different assumptions about available technology and climate change.  Energy production / consumption for basic needs (transportation, goods movement, industry, residential heating/cooling) will dominate future PM2.5 concentrations in most U.S. cities.  Dramatic transformations will occur in the coming years as new energy sources are adopted to take advantage of emerging technologies & reduced costs.  At the same time, changing climate will alter energy usage, renewable resource supplies, emissions and chemical reactions.  A great range of air quality outcomes is possible given changes in future energy supplies, demand, technologies, policies and climate.  Infrastructure investments in the next 10 yrs will determine the dominant energy choices for decades beyond.  Analysis is urgently needed to understand the air quality and health costs associated with each possible future energy portfolio. California is the ideal test case for such an exercise because (i) existing air quality is among the worst in the nation (7 of the top 10 polluted US cities), (ii) California is a top 10 world economy, (iii) over 10% of the U.S. population lives in California, crossing a broad spectrum of socio-economic classes, (iv) energy scenarios have already been developed and California is committed to action, (v) initial work has already started to develop spatially resolved results.


The key hypothesis to be tested in the proposed research is that future PM2.5 sources, composition, chemical reactions and spatial distributions will drastically change as a function of future energy portfolio and technology adoption in the presence of climate change. An ensemble of PM2.5 and ozone exposure scenarios will be produced using results from ongoing research combined with multiple models for energy portfolio optimization, criteria pollutant emissions, air quality downscaling in the presence of climate change scenarios, and health effects analysis. Two state-of-the-science energy models will serve as the foundation of this analysis, along with coupled meteorological & air quality models applied at scales ranging from statewide (100’s km) to neighborhood (250m).  Interactions between smart growth and population exposure will also be considered in rapidly growing areas.

Expected Results:

The outcomes from the proposed research include economically optimized energy portfolios for California that meet the goal of an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by the year 2050, the PM2.5 and ozone outcomes associated with those portfolios, and the air pollution health costs associated with those energy portfolios for different socio-economic segments of society.  The ensemble of results will provide information to decision makers to guide infrastructure investments that provide the best air quality outcomes for all socio-economic classes and a pathway to sustainable future air quality.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

CA-TIMES, VISION, Source-oriented WRF/Chem (SOWC), CMAQ, Sustainable Energy Portfolios;

Progress and Final Reports:

2016 Progress Report