Southern California Edison published a white paper that lays out an integrated strategic framework for California to meet its climate and air quality goals.

SCE describes its Clean Power and Electrification Pathway [pdf] as building upon existing state programs by identifying cost-effective actions to increase clean energy in the electric system and to leverage that electricity in the transportation and building sectors to achieve needed emissions reductions.

California environmental goals include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050, as well as reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other health-harming pollutants in areas of the state with the highest levels of air pollution by 2032.

SCE says that electric utilities are “uniquely positioned” to facilitate the transformation to a clean energy economy. “They have the size, scope, and infrastructure assets to deliver clean energy and support electrification for all customers,” the white paper says. Electric utilities also have the capacity to finance investments to maintain and modernize the grid. “Broad decarbonization and electrification of the economy require comprehensive policy to guide the transformations across our economy — not just in the electric sector,” the report says.

The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway calls for three efforts:

Doubling the use of carbon-free electricity from 40 percent today to 80 percent by 2030, supported by energy storage. The electric sector has already reduced GHG emissions below 1990 levels and now accounts for around 19 percent of California’s GHG emissions.

The plan calls for increasing the use of large-scale, carbon-free generation such as wind, solar and large hydroelectric power plants to at least 80 percent of electricity delivered to customers, continued use of distributed rooftop solar and doubling energy efficiency by 2030.

Accelerating the use of electric vehicles, including passenger cars and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, to more than 7 million by 2030. The transportation sector is the largest source of GHG emissions and local air quality problems, with 40 percent of the goods entering the nation moving through the region’s ports and highways.

To encourage consumer acceptance and adoption of electric vehicles, SCE’s proposal urges development of additional charging infrastructure and continued financial incentives that lower the purchase price of electric vehicles during the early stages of adoption, particularly for low- and middle-income communities.

Increasing electrification of commercial and residential space and water heating. SCE’s plan indicates that the electrification of nearly one-third of residential and commercial space and water heaters, combined with continued improvements in energy efficiency in buildings, could reduce GHG emissions significantly.

The SCE proposal provides continued support for the state’s market-based, cap-and-trade program as a component of efforts to reduce GHG emissions, while ensuring that electricity remains affordably priced for utility customers. The proposal also recognizes the importance of geographically diverse sources of renewable energy and regional markets that support affordable, zero-carbon energy supplies.