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Title: Emissions implications of downscaled electricity generation scenarios for the western United States

Abstract

This study explores how emissions from electricity generation in the Western Interconnection region of the U.S. might respond in circa 2030 to contrasting scenarios for fuel prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fees. We examine spatial and temporal variations in generation mix across the region and year using the PLEXOS unit commitment and dispatch model with a production cost model database adapted from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Emissions estimates are computed by combining the dispatch model results with unit-specific, emissions-load relationships. Wind energy displaces natural gas and coal in scenarios with relatively expensive natural gas or with GHG fees. Correspondingly, annual emissions of NOx, SO2, and CO2 are reduced by 20-40% in these cases. NOx emissions, which are a concern as a precursor of ground-level ozone, are relatively high and consistent across scenarios during summer, when peak electricity loads occur and wind resources in the region are comparatively weak. Accounting for the difference in start-up versus stabilized NOx emissions rates for natural gas plants had little impact on region-wide emissions estimates due to the dominant contribution from coal-fired plants, but would be more important in the vicinity of the natural gas units.

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1392776
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-68487
Journal ID: ISSN 0301-4215
DOE Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Energy Policy; Journal Volume: 109; Journal Issue: C
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
24 POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; electricity dispatch; air quality; emissions fees; nitrogen oxides; natural gas; renewable energy

Citation Formats

Nsanzineza, Rene, O’Connell, Matthew, Brinkman, Gregory, and Milford, Jana B. Emissions implications of downscaled electricity generation scenarios for the western United States. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2017.07.051.
Nsanzineza, Rene, O’Connell, Matthew, Brinkman, Gregory, & Milford, Jana B. Emissions implications of downscaled electricity generation scenarios for the western United States. United States. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2017.07.051.
Nsanzineza, Rene, O’Connell, Matthew, Brinkman, Gregory, and Milford, Jana B. Sun . "Emissions implications of downscaled electricity generation scenarios for the western United States". United States. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2017.07.051.
@article{osti_1392776,
title = {Emissions implications of downscaled electricity generation scenarios for the western United States},
author = {Nsanzineza, Rene and O’Connell, Matthew and Brinkman, Gregory and Milford, Jana B.},
abstractNote = {This study explores how emissions from electricity generation in the Western Interconnection region of the U.S. might respond in circa 2030 to contrasting scenarios for fuel prices and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fees. We examine spatial and temporal variations in generation mix across the region and year using the PLEXOS unit commitment and dispatch model with a production cost model database adapted from the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Emissions estimates are computed by combining the dispatch model results with unit-specific, emissions-load relationships. Wind energy displaces natural gas and coal in scenarios with relatively expensive natural gas or with GHG fees. Correspondingly, annual emissions of NOx, SO2, and CO2 are reduced by 20-40% in these cases. NOx emissions, which are a concern as a precursor of ground-level ozone, are relatively high and consistent across scenarios during summer, when peak electricity loads occur and wind resources in the region are comparatively weak. Accounting for the difference in start-up versus stabilized NOx emissions rates for natural gas plants had little impact on region-wide emissions estimates due to the dominant contribution from coal-fired plants, but would be more important in the vicinity of the natural gas units.},
doi = {10.1016/j.enpol.2017.07.051},
journal = {Energy Policy},
number = C,
volume = 109,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sun Oct 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}