Los Angeles Renewable Energy Potential: A Preliminary Assessment

Project Summary

A critical need to achieve a sustainable Los Angeles is to determine the balance of accessible renewable energy resources, energy distribution and storage needs, and the end user requirements. This study provides a preliminary assessment of energy portfolio for the Los Angeles region, including both centralized and distributed energy (electricity and fuel) generation options, and details the required energy management and distribution. The project extends the promising results of the research team's preliminary assessment for achieving the energy requirements for sustainability by 2050.

Using existing data, researchers characterize the available energy resources, user needs, and energy distribution/management requirements for the electricity, water, and transportation sectors. In addition, the project aims to provide a detailed assessment for energy distribution and transmission needs in light of energy generation options, grid infrastructure and management approaches, storage options, and transportation technologies. Through parametric analyses, researchers will select the most attractive energy generation and distribution profiles to guide energy conservation targets, energy technology development plans, infrastructure requirements, and compatibility with water and ecosystem targets. This effort pays particular attention to policy and community considerations at the local and state levels.

Research Team

Richard Wirz
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Karthik Nithyanadam
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Parker Wells
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Other Collaborators

Rajit Gadh
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Dean Curtis
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Rui Huang
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering

Progress and Results

Results of this feasibility study demonstrate that it is possible to achieve Los Angeles County’s 2050 energy needs by using only a small fraction of the region’s accessible renewable energy resources. The solution requires the generation, distribution, and storage of both renewable electricity and fuels to meet end-user, water, and transportation energy needs, while supporting a healthy regional ecosystem. To achieve this goal, many significant technological and policy challenges must be addressed – several of which are identified herein as near-term “research directions”. As such, this study serves as a preliminary technological assessment to stimulate the development of a long term 2050 plan for a sustainable energy portfolio for L.A. County and region.

electric vehicle charging

Category

Award Year

2015