Decarbonizing California’s Buildings: Planning for the Stranded “Gassets”

Speaker: Michael Colvin, Director of the California Energy Program, Environmental Defense Fund
Host: Energy Graduate Group
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 10:30am to 11:50am
Location: 1605 Tilia Street, West Village, UC Davis
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Abstract: California has established aggressive decarbonization goals for its economy. California’s buildings are one of the largest remaining sources of GHG emissions. As building move to electrify in an effort to decarbonize, the question arises: what to do with the legacy gas infrastructure in the ground? Who pays for an increasingly expensive system as more buildings depart? The seminar will present an overview of California’s building decarbonization framework, the policy considerations behind “used and useful” infrastructure and ratemaking options to avoid legacy gas infrastructure from becoming stranded assets. The seminar will also discuss other non-electrification options for decarbonizing buildings, including renewable natural gas and hydrogen.

Bio: Michael Colvin is the Director, California Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund. Based out of EDF’s San Francisco office, Michael focuses on building decarbonization, gas utility business models, wholesale electricity markets and transportation electrification matters. Across each of these issues, Michael’s focuses on minimizing investment risk and aligning utility incentives with affordable, clean and safe energy services. Prior to joining EDF, Michael spent 10 years at the California Public Utilities Commission working on various energy and utility safety matters. Michael was energy advisor to former Commissioners Mark J. Ferron and Catherine J.K. Sandoval. Michael holds a Masters in Public Policy and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Economics, both from the University of California, Berkeley. More information can be found at

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