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SoCal Edison to Shrink NatGas Use, Increase Carbon-Free Resources

Edison International's Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) unveiled a strategy on Tuesday to virtually eliminate most natural gas use over the next three decades to meet California’s mandated goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% by 2050.

SCE proposed moving 80% of its generated electricity by 2030 to carbon-free sources, accelerating electric vehicle (EV) use and electrifying residential/commercial space and water heating, two loads predominantly provided by natural gas for decades.

Edison CEO Pedro Pizarro made the commitment in a 3Q2017 earnings conference call this week. He said SCE's strategy would be totally aligned with the state's air quality and climate policy goals.

Three closely linked efforts to 2030 are called for in SCE's plan: doubling the use of carbon-free power supplies to 80% from 40%; expanding EV market share in passenger cars, medium-duty vehicles and among heavy-duty vehicles; and electrifying up to one-third of residential and business buildings.

SCE is projecting 8.3% annual growth in the utility rate base through 2020, while at the same time it is litigating the closure of the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Pizarro said.

Rosemead, CA-based SCE also threw its continued support to California’s cap-and-trade program, which was extended earlier this year through 2030.

SCE President Ron Nichols said a white paper outlining the mission offers the utility a blueprint "to achieve the company's and the state's air quality and climate policy goals by building a clean energy economy." That economy would provide "high-skill middle-income jobs" and "leverage and expand a wide variety of innovative technologies."

SCE noted that the electricity sector already has reduced GHG emissions below 1990 levels, with generation now accounting for 19% of the carbon emissions. Transportation also is a major focus since it is the largest source of GHG emissions, and Southern California ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles receive about 40% of U.S. imports, which then are transported via truck and rail.

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