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Title: Projected Growth in Small-Scale, Fossil-Fueled Distributed Generation: Potential Implications for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Abstract

The generation capacity of small-scale (less than one megawatt) fossil-fueled electricity in the United States is anticipated to grow by threefold to twenty-fold from 2015 to 2040. However, in adherence with internationally agreed upon carbon accounting methods, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) U.S. Greenhouse Inventory (GHGI) does not currently attribute greenhouse gases (GHGs) from these small-scale distributed generation sources to the electric power sector and instead accounts for these emissions in the sector that uses the distributed generation (e.g., the commercial sector). In addition, no other federal electric-sector GHG emission data product produced by the EPA or the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) can attribute these emissions to electricity. We reviewed the technical documentation for eight federal electric-sector GHG emission data products, interviewed the data product owners, collected their GHG emission estimates, and analyzed projections for growth in fossil-fueled distributed generation. We show that, by 2040, these small-scale generators could account for at least about 1%- 5% of total CO2 emissions from the U.S. electric power sector. If these emissions fall outside the electric power sector, the United States may not be able to completely and accurately track changes in electricity-related CO2 emissions, which could impact how the country setsmore » GHG reduction targets and allocates mitigation resources. Because small-scale, fossil-fueled distributed generation is expected to grow in other countries as well, the results of this work also have implications for global carbon accounting.« less

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Grid Modernization Lab Consortium
OSTI Identifier:
1431247
Report Number(s):
NREL/PR-6A20-68965
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at the 2017 International Emissions Inventory Conference, 14-18 August 2017, Baltimore, Maryland
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; greenhouse gases; GHG; electric power; inventory; accounting; projections; small generators; United States

Citation Formats

Eberle, Annika, and Heath, Garvin A. Projected Growth in Small-Scale, Fossil-Fueled Distributed Generation: Potential Implications for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory. United States: N. p., 2018. Web.
Eberle, Annika, & Heath, Garvin A. Projected Growth in Small-Scale, Fossil-Fueled Distributed Generation: Potential Implications for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory. United States.
Eberle, Annika, and Heath, Garvin A. Thu . "Projected Growth in Small-Scale, Fossil-Fueled Distributed Generation: Potential Implications for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1431247.
@article{osti_1431247,
title = {Projected Growth in Small-Scale, Fossil-Fueled Distributed Generation: Potential Implications for the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory},
author = {Eberle, Annika and Heath, Garvin A},
abstractNote = {The generation capacity of small-scale (less than one megawatt) fossil-fueled electricity in the United States is anticipated to grow by threefold to twenty-fold from 2015 to 2040. However, in adherence with internationally agreed upon carbon accounting methods, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) U.S. Greenhouse Inventory (GHGI) does not currently attribute greenhouse gases (GHGs) from these small-scale distributed generation sources to the electric power sector and instead accounts for these emissions in the sector that uses the distributed generation (e.g., the commercial sector). In addition, no other federal electric-sector GHG emission data product produced by the EPA or the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) can attribute these emissions to electricity. We reviewed the technical documentation for eight federal electric-sector GHG emission data products, interviewed the data product owners, collected their GHG emission estimates, and analyzed projections for growth in fossil-fueled distributed generation. We show that, by 2040, these small-scale generators could account for at least about 1%- 5% of total CO2 emissions from the U.S. electric power sector. If these emissions fall outside the electric power sector, the United States may not be able to completely and accurately track changes in electricity-related CO2 emissions, which could impact how the country sets GHG reduction targets and allocates mitigation resources. Because small-scale, fossil-fueled distributed generation is expected to grow in other countries as well, the results of this work also have implications for global carbon accounting.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Mar 29 00:00:00 EDT 2018},
month = {Thu Mar 29 00:00:00 EDT 2018}
}

Conference:
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