Black & Veatch Analysis of Carbon-Neutrality Projects Informs Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s 2030 Zero Carbon Plan | Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch Analysis of Carbon-Neutrality Projects Informs Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s 2030 Zero Carbon Plan

Leader in decarbonization planning assessed a range of zero-carbon generation projects for SMUD in detailed utility analysis

Zero-carbon technologies, including carbon capture, energy storage, hydrogen, solar and wind, will allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to achieve its goals of zero-carbon emissions in its electricity supply by 2030, finds a recent analysis by decarbonization solutions leader Black & Veatch.

The 2030 Zero Carbon Plan was completed to help the public utility inform its customers and other key stakeholders as to how SMUD will address its goal of eliminating 100-percent of greenhouse gas emissions from all electric generation by 2030. Black & Veatch performed an assessment of zero carbon technologies that included biomass and biogas; carbon sequestration and storage; geothermal energy; long-duration energy storage; onshore and offshore wind; renewable hydrogen and solar PV that will accelerate the energy transition for SMUD’s more than 1.5 million customers.

“Climate change is a critical issue threatening our world, but it’s more than that for us,” said Valentino Tiangco, biomass program lead at SMUD. “Air quality in Sacramento is among the worst in the country. Our Plan will contribute to improving both air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. To support the analyses, we selected Black & Veatch to assess zero-carbon technologies that could provide the sustainability and resilience we need to achieve this aggressive and highly necessary goal.”

The study analyzed the full range of zero-carbon technologies currently available to determine the metrics for potential procurement. The report also evaluated the cost-effectiveness and performance characteristics for each technology; assessed its technical and economic feasibility; estimated the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOEs); evaluated issues and challenges for the development of each project; and identified and determined the necessary input required for production cost models and scenario analysis.

Other key takeaways from the report include:

  • All the studied technologies are expected to be commercially available for SMUD’s use by 2030.
  • Solar and onshore wind are the lowest cost of energy options on a levelized basis.
  • Due to anticipated advancements in technology, long-duration energy storage – defined as 48 hours to 168 hours of storage – becomes significantly more economical towards the end of the study period. The same can be said for hydrogen.

“Drawing on our deep experience and expertise across an integrated portfolio of power generation, transmission and distribution technologies, our team was able to evaluate a range of options to model the analysis,” said Dave Hallowell, Senior Vice President and leader of Black & Veatch’s Global Renewable Energy business line. “Armed with this information, SMUD can advance towards achieving its zero-carbon goals.”

The report is available for download on the SMUD website.


Editor’s Notes:

  • In 2017, the Smart Electric Power Alliance selected Black & Veatch to conduct an in-depth study detailing SMUD’s efforts to create an integrated distributed energy resources (DER) planning process. The report found that consumers could outspend utilities in the adoption of solar, storage, electric vehicles and other DER, making it essential for utilities to track and integrate DER into their planning processes to benefit their customers and the grid.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2020 exceeded US$3.0 billion. Follow us on and on social media.

About SMUD
As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for about 70 years to Sacramento County and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties. SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visit

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