Spatial Climate Solutions Lab and multi-UC team win a UC Climate Action Grant for grid expansion planning for disadvantaged communities in California
UCSB PIs Grace Wu, Ranjit Deshmukh, Matto Mildenberger, and Michael Ludkovski are part of a multi-UC team including UC San Diego and UC Berkeley that was awarded a $2.8 million UC Climate Action grant.
Deeply reducing energy use emissions while ensuring reliable infrastructure is critical to meet
California’s carbon neutrality goals by 2045 (California Air Resources Board 2022 Scoping Plan). Extreme weather events, such as wildfires and heavy precipitation, have increased the complexity of meeting this goal while maintaining reliable electricity services, as evidenced by Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Recent literature on grid operations during climate emergencies have revealed significant inequities in the populations most affected by load shedding and restoration prioritization decision-making. In parallel, adoption of end-use electrification and distributed energy resources (DERs, such as PV) in California households are key strategies for a resilient carbon neutral grid. Adoption of these technologies has been inequitable across disadvantaged communities (DACs), intersecting with inequitable electricity reliability in divergent ways. Achieving resiliency in California’s electricity grid, especially in disadvantaged communities, will not only require a technical redesign of our grid’s infrastructure and operation but also a more nuanced understanding of the barriers to climate action and local resilience in the diverse array of communities across our state.
The UCSB team (Spatial Climate Solutions Lab, CETLab, and the 2035 Initiative) will be leading Thrust 1: Projecting household electrification and adoption of DERs at the census tract level and under future policy scenarios. In Thrust 2, we will work with community partners in select DACs across California to design microgrid configurations that best meet their needs.