Roadmap 2045 (4)

Guest post by Rud Istvan,

Here are links to Part 1Part 2,   Part3~ctm

This is the fourth of 6 posts dissecting SoCalEd plan for a carbon neutral service territory by 2045. It is a straightforward plan to electrify 70% of buildings. Why 70%? Because electrifying pre-existing commercial buildings beyond lighting and AC is virtually impossible.

The following SoCalEd image makes this reasonably clear.


70% electric space and water heating

90% fewer GHG from all electric homes

15% increase in electrical load

70% space and water heating

As with electrified vehicles (part 3), this is putting the economic burden on the homeowner, not SoCalEd. There are two cost components: capital and operating.

Switching a typical gas furnace to an electric equivalent costs about $2000, and switching a typical tank capacity hot water heater is about $400. Installation of both and upgrading the electrical service panel for the requisite more amps is about $600. (All per California home improvement sites and quote ranges.) So the total homeowner initial capital cost is about $3000. Not as bad as an electric car.

The bigger problem is the difference in operating cost. For this I went to state-by-state utility bill comparisons at the US EIA. The average California electric bill is about $100 (exactly $101.49 in 2018, higher in summer because of AC, lower in winter). The average gas bill is about $60, higher in winter with heating, lower in summer with just hot water and cooking. So that is a California difference of about $40/month or $480/year, all of which becomes additional SoCalEd revenue with a guaranteed profit.

90% less GHG from all electric homes

This is only true if the electricity comes from nuclear or renewables. If it comes from about 60% efficient CCGT, then GHG are about 40% more using electricity from natural gas rather than just natural gas for space and water heating.

15% increase in load

That is SoCalEd’s estimate. Could not figure a way to triangulate it so lets assume it is true based on their granular customer base. At least they were honest here about the additional load impact on their grid from fully electrifying homes.

BUT as part three showed, they OMITTED this same increased load estimate from vehicle electrification. And that omitted ‘detail’ is not +15%, its at least 100%– DOUBLE– and mostly at night when solar isn’t contributing to SoCalEd load capacity.

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Chris in UT
November 12, 2019 2:56 pm

I’m probably missing something, but rather than looking at the difference between the average gas and electric bill and annualizing it, don’t you want to find what the $60 gas bill equates to if electricity now does the job gas is doing? That would be more than the $60 gas bill per month, so more than $720 annualized?

In the Real World
Reply to  Chris in UT
November 13, 2019 10:32 am

I am not sure of the prices in the US , but in the UK it costs 4 times more to heat with electric than with gas or oil .
In 2016 a Government committee concluded that , if all house were insulated up to the highest possible standards , it would still take another 200 GWh of generation capacity , [ total current capacity is just over 50 GWh ] , so the idea was considered unworkable .
But with California being warmer than UK , it would probably only double the extra generation needed . Their figure of 15% extra capacity is almost certainly total bovine scatology .

And then there is electric cars as well .With 25 million of them to charge , a basic calculation gives a figure of something like 150 GWh needed if they should all plug in at the same time .
As I understand it , California has a total generation capacity of something like 80 GWh .

So Ruds figure of doubling generation capacity for EVs , would probably need doubling again if housing went all electric .

Unless they brought in a system [ somehow ] that you could only charge your EV or heat your house / water perhaps 1 day per week

November 12, 2019 3:01 pm

French homes are all electric. Why?

They built 40 nuclear reactors FIRST, then wrote off the capital cost, and then sold the electricity..

Faced with a cheap electric heater and electricity costing less than gas or oil….

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 12, 2019 5:51 pm

If we had enough nukes and electricity were cheaper than gas…
But, alas that is not the case. So they instead want to burn the gas to make make heat. Which is a very unnecessary tortured process.

Old Goat
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 13, 2019 12:23 am

I can assure you that they are not “all electric” here in France. We use gas here. either piped or from cylinders on our premises. Many of us also use oil to fire central heating, and wood to make up the difference.

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 13, 2019 4:22 am

And now they find all the reactors are coming to the end of their lives at once and many have safety issues -plus the decommissioning cost has effectively bankrupt the EDF energy company.

New reactor design is years overdue.

so many French reactors have been offline in recent years at once only German renewable energy has bailed them out

Reply to  griff
November 13, 2019 7:39 am


Your comment here is not useful for conveying any real information. I have no specific knowledge of the French fleet, but I imagine that much like the US fleet, they will be seeking life extensions to 60 yrs or 80 yrs (standard design life is 40 years). The process for this in the States includes an extensive engineering review of the plant, complete with capital expenditures on component repairs and/or replacements. “Safety concerns” are dealt with as they’re identified. Given that Newton’s second law is still very much in effect, systems will constantly degrade, and will (and always have) require constant care and attention to handle. Nothing new there.

Regarding decommissioning costs bankrupting EDF, this would be a surprise to me. First, because I find it highly unlikely that a large number of reactors would be decommissioned at the same time, as they should be extending their life. Second, I would assume that France, like the US, has been accruing money for the decommissioning with every KW sold.

Finally, EDF’s reactor OEM, AREVA (now Framatome) has successfully brought their new Gen 3+ reactor, the EPR, online in China. As I understand it, EDF is constructing multiple EPRs in France. So, it’s not clear to me what you mean when you say the design is years overdue.


Jeff Mitchell
November 12, 2019 3:26 pm

They’ll get the night time power from starlight.

California is showing us where the fantasy thinkers want to go. Back to the stone age.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
November 12, 2019 10:18 pm

They will install enormous magnifying glasses over the top of the solar panels to concentrate the starlight and moonlight at night

Reply to  Bryan A
November 13, 2019 3:29 am

Arc lights, powered by diesel generators. The subsidies are so high, you can make money doing really stupid, inefficient things. But that’s green policies for you.

Mark H
November 12, 2019 3:34 pm

15% increased load.

Hmm… so if everyone has to switch their heating to electric, and there’s a cold day, and everyone turns on their electric heating all at the same time. I wonder what effect that would have on the load? One would imagine that if it’s cold in one part of SoCal, it will likely be cold in the rest of SoCal.

The 15% figure sounds a bit sus, are they assuming that people will only turn their heaters on randomly (like how they do projections of wind turbine power production using Monte Carlo)? The average increase won’t be all that important, the peak increase will be.

Lee L
Reply to  Mark H
November 12, 2019 4:13 pm

“if it’s cold in one part of SoCal, it will likely be cold in the rest of SoCal”.
Ya likely, but much better to use Minnesota as your standard. It’s called winter there and it WILL be cold in all of it. When this mighty plan works there it will pass the SoCal test with ease I’d say.

John A Klug
Reply to  Lee L
November 12, 2019 6:34 pm

The Minnesota plan allows for nuclear energy. But how will Minnesota get another one built in time?

Reply to  Mark H
November 12, 2019 5:04 pm

How many heaters are on at the same time depends on the how long the heaters are heating vs their being idle. Basically, the duty cycle.
If the duty cycle is an average of 10% then at any given time only 10% of the heaters will be blowing heat.
Duty cycle depends on how cold it actually is, and how well insulated the homes are.

Reply to  MarkW
November 12, 2019 5:41 pm

In CA most houses built before 1960 are not very well insulated.

Here’s a plan for CA: If you street address is an even number you can run your electric furnace only on the even hours, and vice versa for the odd addresses.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Mark H
November 12, 2019 5:19 pm

Correct. Its the peak that matters for planning stand-by generation capacity. Because of Nat Gas for winter heating SoCal’s highest electricity demand is in the summer.
But if the Cal Democrats succeed in killing Natural Gas to satisfy their GreenSlime masters, then winter becomes a much bigger demand, and peak solar power not only less it is shorter in duration (shorter days, lower sun angles). Battery storage couldn’t keep up in the winter.

All in all, Cal’s Democrats are setting California up for the Big Fail in the early 40’s. I’m 57yo so there’s a decent chance I’ll live to see it… from somewhere else.

Reply to  Mark H
November 12, 2019 5:36 pm

Hmmm… typically when its cold it’s not bright and sunny either.

Much like our politicians neither sunny nor bright.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
November 13, 2019 11:34 am

I tied a record low for my area in 2011 when a polar vortex hit us. It was definitely bright and sunny everyday. We went 10 days in which night time lows were mostly in the minus oughts and the day time highs never went about 14 Fahrenheit. This was in early January when the sun was basically at its lowest but it was definitely bright and sunny. Solar panels were actually exceeding wattage ratings everyday. Running over 2000 watts from an array that was rated at 1760 watts. Solar panels do better in the cold.

November 12, 2019 4:09 pm

Maybe if they implemented daylight savings time year round they could get more solar power…makes as much sense as some of their other assumptions…

Reply to  Steve
November 12, 2019 5:54 pm

Push it two hours ahead …yeah that’s the ticket!
It worked so well for Jimmy Carter…NOT!

Robert B
November 12, 2019 4:12 pm

Not just on.

I spent a year at a university in Paris in a building designed for Brazil. They had great idea of switching the heating off on Thursday and letting thermal mass of the brick and concrete to keep everyone warm until Friday evening. The problem was that everyone was freezing on Monday morning so they brought in little heaters for their offices. When they all pretty much switched off at once, the surge would blow fuses and damage equipment.

Reply to  Robert B
November 12, 2019 4:44 pm

…and what it took to warm the place back up…cost more than just leaving the heat on

Robert W. Turner
November 12, 2019 4:58 pm

It’s only a 15% increased load because the power will be out half the time anyway.

November 12, 2019 4:59 pm

Natural gas is great for pool and hot tub heaters. Not sure if there is electrical replacement that works as fast as gas.

Reply to  Stevek
November 12, 2019 5:08 pm

Not unless the local climate is 45deg F +/-. ‘Heat-Pumps’ (A/C running backwards) stops working sufficiently to warm in the low 40’s to upper 30’s. Been there done that. People in my neighborhood (Cali foothills) burn wood pellets or wood logs to warm homes even over expensive propane and nat gas. Electricity to heat homes in cold environments is one of those unicorns.

Reply to  sparky
November 13, 2019 12:38 pm

Your experience with heat pumps sounds like an extreme case… of contractor / builder incompetence or a faulty unit. Cannot keep up with demand in the low 40s? Sounds like your unit was undersized for your structure, rather than a limiting of the unit. I would recommend at least 1-ton per 1000 sq ft of living space. My old 2.5-ton air-sourced unit was sufficient for over 3000 sq ft in the cold Midwest down to the low 20s before the toaster would kick in to supplement. Newer 3-ton ground-sourced (geothermal) doesn’t kick on the toaster until upper teens, and then is low duty cycle; typically it will “pre-warm” the system & vents for a few minutes, then the heat pump is sufficient. It has to be a lasting cold spell to require a longer toaster duty cycle.

November 12, 2019 5:44 pm

” Installation of both and upgrading the electrical service panel for the requisite more amps is about $600.”

Fifteen years ago, I hired an electrician to increase amperage to my home to cover wood working equipment.
Just the replacement service panel alone was near $400.
I don’t know about the “estimates” you used, but it was far off in my case.

I just had the electrician run 220V 30A service to my garage; connected into a small garage only, relatively inexpensive service panel. The distance between my home service panel and the small auxiliary one we installed into the garage is about fifteen feet.
In the garage,the electrician ran two 220V lines for me to the wood working equipment. Installed in metal conduit on the garage wall surface; he couldn’t even be bothered to run the conduit in the garage’s attic.

That minor change to my incoming electricity cost me $1500.
1) Without the new service panel.
2) Without rerunning wiring!!!

Keep in mind that virtually all modern wiring is installed as 115-120V 15A! Not 20 AMP service! If you pull your wiring you will find that is the rating. Force the regular wiring to carry higher amperage is asking for a house fire, soon.

If you’re planning on installing a major charging system carrying 220V or 440V;
comment image

220V at 30 amps gives charging times between 6 hours to 30 hours. Low amperage, slow charging; high amperage gives faster charging. Guess where 220V and 30 Amps will place your charging times. (220V – 30 amps represent two 115V – 15 Amp lines connected together.)

comment image

Several times in my life I had the privilege to live in older houses.

One house, and old farmhouse had served as an inn back in the late 1700s. The walls were stone and mortar or brick and mortar. Electricity wires were the old fabric covered solid wires that either ran on ceramic posts where exposed or through holes drilled/chiseled throughout the house.

Then there was the house built in the 1930s in what passed for 1930s land development. All of the wiring was fabric coated solid wired nailed to ceramic posts that were run before the lathe horsehair and plaster covered them.

Then there was that wonderful house in New Orleans; again with solid copper fabric coated wired nailed to ceramic posts before the lathe and stucco were installed.

Put another way, since adulthood, I’ve lived in one house that could be considered relatively modern where walls are cheap gypsum board. That is, my current house which I already discovered is not cheap to upgrade the wiring.

I’ll ask my wife but the last time I checked, in Virginia, we are paying far more $101 average monthly bill for approximately 2,000 square feet.
Of course, I live where LPG pipes are not infrastructure so our heating and cooling are by heat pump and wood stove. Our hot water is electric. Our well is run by electric. Our stove and oven are electric.
When the power goes out, which is about once a month; nothing works. Not toilets, heating, cooling, stove, etc.
I can set up our camping equipment in about half an hour. After three days running the wood stove, the thermal mass in the chimney warms up enough to keep the house quite warm.

I can just imagine what living in an all electric home in California is like with unreliable inconsistent electricity; including transport that is also dependent upon sufficient reliable consistent electricity. At least when the power is out, I could easily start the truck and go to work.

All together, overly cheap estimates represent the lowest cost circumstances. Low amperage installed wiring, maxxed out service panels (usually the norm), older houses, etc. will not allow for lowest cost installations.

Then there is what happens to the local grid when every house must upgrade, then pull much higher amperage electricity.

Oh, sure; regridding and rampant EVs by 2024, 2030, 2040… maybe not ever.

nw sage
Reply to  ATheoK
November 12, 2019 6:41 pm

Only if most of the wires in your house are

Only if the wires in your house are #14 are they limited to 15A. #14 wire is normally used ONLY for lighting only circuits. Outlets, etc should be #12 or heavier and can be used w/30A breakers/fuses. Kitchens/shops often get more separate circuits rather that heavier wire. Heavy use appliances like cooktops, electric water heaters and electric ranges usually are wired with at least #10 wire and sometimes #8.

Reply to  nw sage
November 13, 2019 7:04 pm

“nw sage November 12, 2019 at 6:41 pm
Only if most of the wires in your house are
Only if the wires in your house are #14 are…”

In a typical house, only the wire runs to the oven, stovetop and hot water heater are 12 sized wires to supply the juice necessary to run those appliances for hours. Technically, electric dryers should also use #12 size wire… That is, if the contractors knew exactly where your dryer is planned to be installed. Move the dryer to a new location and properly feeding them sufficient electric power requires running new wire.

The entire rest of house interior are run with #14 15 amp wiring.
Even then if you check the service panels you’ll often find that all except the heat pumps are wired into two 115V – 15 amp breakers.

The older houses that use fabric covered solid copper wire?
Old work hardened by age crystallizing less pure copper? Just what amperage would they handle, safely?
That wire was installed when most electricity was used for small appliances; e.g. lights, door bell, fans, etc. The biggest machines that would be plugged into a wall socket were vacuum cleaners. Even those vacuum cleaners they frequently trip the circuit breakers.

A certain percentage of people are living in relatively new housing. That is, houses with wiring for dryers, stoves and hot water heaters.
There is still a large percentage of people living in older houses that were wired to support televisions, radios and somewhat smaller electric devices.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  ATheoK
November 13, 2019 8:50 am

AT –>I agree with you. Just had my service upgraded from 100 amp to 200 amp. Needed a new box and new breakers (the old ones aren’t up to code). The box itself was about $600 and the breakers were outrageous. There were several that had to be integral GFCI and arc detectors to meet new codes. Those are about $40 apiece and 15 of those is another $600. Double that for labor and you’re up to about $1200. That doesn’t include any cost of wire or labor for new circuits.

The new tankless water heater was a lot more also. Ours was about $800 cost and then plus the labor to install it. It is again outrageous what they charge for a double wall pipe to supply air and exhaust. We had a 10 ft. run and it was $500 total installed.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
November 13, 2019 7:10 pm

Exactly, Jim.

November 12, 2019 6:28 pm

In southern Ontario (Canada) it would cost me around $650 per month during the winter months to heat my house with electricity.

November 12, 2019 7:19 pm

When will this insanity (and that’s what it is in the energy realm) end? Answer – never! The ideologues (idiots??) are in charge. Without nuclear power, this scenario is impossible. Get out while you can.

Don K
November 12, 2019 7:46 pm

California? Why wouldn’t the preference for hot water be solar? Some places don’t get enough sunlight, and some higher altitude locations probably have too many hard freezes, but solar should be feasible in most California residences. It simple, straightforward, well understood, and — because it makes use of the IR component of sunlight as well as the visible component, much more energy efficient than solar PV –> grid –> electric hot water heater. I does require a larger hot water tank, some roof space, and some plumbing.

Reply to  Don K
November 12, 2019 11:10 pm

Where I live, with natural gas water heaters, the cost of hot water doesn’t justify the expense of solar water heating. If you’re stuck with electric water heating, the arithmetic changes.

Reply to  Don K
November 13, 2019 11:52 am

Not really feasible in very many residences because they won’t have a south facing roof that is clear of shading by trees or multistory houses nearby.

Rick C PE
November 12, 2019 8:08 pm

If these two headed geniuses at SoCalEd and PG&E succeed in going 100% electric and zero carbon(dioxide) with renewables, they will need double both the wind/solar generating capacity, and the back-up fossil fuel (or nuclear or battery) power. Really can’t afford any long term blackouts when all residential power is electric. So twice the cost for renewables, plus twice the cost for backup. Not to mention the added huge costs to consumers that Mr. Istvan has highlighted to buy EVs, replace major appliances and substantially upgrade electric services.

I think California is going to do a fine job of demonstrating that the difference between fantasy and reality. Someone’s going to make a fortune selling yellow vests to Californians in the not too distant future.

Global Cooling
November 12, 2019 9:36 pm

We should have no subsidies and no regulations in energy sector. LED lights were adopted voluntarily because they are cheaper in the long run than traditional light bulbs.

Don K
Reply to  Global Cooling
November 13, 2019 3:05 am

LED bulbs in the US have been/are subsidized by the various governments and/or utility companies (at the behest of government regulators). And — like CFLs — they don’t seem to last as long as promised. I have three dead LED bulbs downstairs in the trash. Also, the sale of many popular sizes of classic incandescent bulbs was banned in 2007 in a bipartisan bill signed by G.W.Bush, More modern incandescents are still sold, but they are more energy efficient than the older ones. see

LED light bulbs are a good deal for consumers. But they aren’t really a triumph of free market economics.

Andy Mansell
November 12, 2019 11:34 pm

Just listening to ‘California Dreaming’… apt!

Reply to  Andy Mansell
November 13, 2019 11:59 am

‘Hotel California” might be apt also

Coach Springer
November 13, 2019 5:12 am

I am so old that I can remember skyrocketing energy prices in the 1970s including propane used to heat homes in the rural Midwest. The only more expensive way to heat the home was with electricity – when coal without todays costly encumbrances was the fuel for electricity and electricity was relatively stable, cheap and abundant. That dynamic should favor gas even more with what they’re doing to electricity and with fracking. And any kind of gas and a gasoline generator will get you by when the power goes out.

Also, gas cooks better.

Gunga Din
November 13, 2019 4:17 pm

This SoCalEd plan for a carbon neutral service is sounding more and more like AOC’s claim that Pentagon budget errors could pay for the “New Green Spiel”.

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