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Advanced Generation, Transmission, and Environmental Issues

Large-Scale Wind Generation:
The intermittency and geographic distribution of wind resources add significantly to the real cost of electricity from wind. In power systems where wind turbines represent a significant fraction of the generation capacity, the spatial correlation of intermittent wind resources forces an intrinsic tradeoff between installing dispatchable storage/backup capacity and distributing the wind turbines over a larger geographical area. We explore the role of long-distance transmission and dispatchable backup capacity in determining the economic viability of large scale wind systems. We explore how transmission can be used to mitigate the problem of intermittent supply.
Contact: Joe DeCarolis, David Keith

Climate Impacts of Large-Scale Wind Generation:
Large scale use of wind power can alter local and global climate by extracting kinetic energy and by modifying turbulent transport in the atmospheric boundary layer. We explored the climatic impacts of extracting 3-20 TW of electricity with a suite of numerical experiments using two independent atmospheric General Circulation Models (GCMs) and two parameterizations of the wind-turbine arrays.
Contact: David Keith, Joe DeCarolis

Animal Waste to Power:
We are performing a broad technical, economic and social assessment of the feasibility of animal-waste-to-power technology, including potential positive and negative interactions between this technology and other small scale technologies.
Contact: Kyle Meisterling, Granger Morgan

Amine and Selexol-based CO2 Capture for IGCC Plants:
We have developed performance and cost models of Amine scrubbing of conventional coal plants and for a Selexol-based CO2 absorption system for capturing CO2 from IGCC plants. The analysis shows that based on commercially available technology, the cost of CO2 avoided for an IGCC power plant is half that for a conventional combustion plant with a chemical absorption process. For IGCC systems, the uncertainty associated with CO2 transport and storage has the largest impact on the cost of CO2 avoided
Contact: Anand Rao, Chao Chen, Ed Rubin

Introduction of CCS into a real utility system:
We used a capacity planning and dispatch model to examine carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) in a multipollutant framework, focusing on a regional electricity market (the MAAC NERC region).
Contact: Tim Johnson, David Keith

Metrics for Understanding Transmission Line Siting:
We are quantifying siting difficulty at the state level, identifying siting constraints, and developing a model for predicting siting difficulty. Early work includes analyses of variations in market prices and cost of production data associated with transmission congestion, analysis of proposed and actual transmission miles constructed, and the development of a survey of industry regulators and siting experts to construct a measure of siting difficulty. The goal of this work is to develop comprehensive siting analysis that provides a framework for regulators and utilities to anticipate the demand for transmission construction, predict siting problems, and coordinate siting solutions.
Contact: Shalini Vajjhala, Paul Fischbeck

Life Cycle Assessment:
Carnegie Mellon University has developed a tool for lifecycle analysis that is quick and cheap (see We are disaggregating the U.S. input-output matrix to separate the electricity sector by fuel type. This model enables us to perform lifecycle analyses for each fuel and technology used to generate electricity. We use a hybrid approach that embodies the process details of each fuel/technology in the more aggregate input-output analysis.
Contact: Joe Marriott, Scott Matthews

The Cost of Regulatory Uncertainty in Air Emissions for a Coal-fired Power Plant:
Uncertainty about the extent and timing of changes in environmental regulations for coal fired power plants makes the difficult problem of selecting a compliance strategy even harder. Using a Multi-Period Decision Model (MPDM) that captures the decisions (both capital investment and operating) that a power plant owner must make each year, our framework employs a Stochastic Optimization Model (SOM), nested in the MPDM to find the strategy that minimizes the expected net present value (ENPV) of plant operations over a fixed planning horizon. By comparing model runs under different uncertainty conditions, the cost of regulatory uncertainty are calculated.
Contact: Dalia Patino Echeverri, Paul Fischbeck, Benoit Morel, Alex Farrell

Is It Better to Ship Coal or Electricity?
We have built a model that examines the energy efficiency, economic, and environmental implications of shipping coal versus electricity depending on the distance, investment needed, and other factors. Shipments of Powder River Basin Coal to Texas were the first example.
Contact: Joule Bergerson, Chris Hendrickson, Lester Lave

Studies of Particulate Air Pollution:
We measure and model particulate air pollution on local, regional and global scales.
Contact: Cliff Davidson, Spyros Pandis, Allen Robinson, Peter Adams

Modeling Environmental Implications of Electricity Generation to 2050:
We are working with the US EPA on a model of environmental discharges from electricity over a 50 year time horizon. Using MARKAL software, we specify the inputs, cost, and environmental discharges of each fuel-technology combination. The model then allows us to explore a range of scenarios concerning the price/availability of fuels, stringency of environmental regulations, and availability of advanced technologies.
Contact: Joule Bergerson, Lester Lave

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