Resource Documents: Emissions (117 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Connecticut, Delaware, Economics, Emissions, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont •
Author: Stevenson, David
The nearly decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was always meant to be a model for a national program to reduce power plant carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicitly cited it in this fashion in its now-stayed Clean Power Plan. Although the RGGI is often called a “cap and trade” program, its effect is the same as a direct tax or fee on emissions because RGGI allowance costs are passed on from electric generators to distribution companies to consumers. More recently, an influential group of former cabinet officials, known as the “Climate Leadership Council,” has recommended a direct tax on CO₂; emissions (Shultz and Summers 2017).
Positive RGGI program reviews have been from RGGI, Inc. (the program administrator) and the Acadia Center, which advocates for reduced emissions (see Stutt, Shattuck, and Kumar 2015). In this article, I investigate whether reported reductions in CO₂ emissions from electric power plants, along with associated gains in health benefits and other claims, were actually achieved by the RGGI program. Based on my findings, any form of carbon tax is not the policy to accomplish emission reductions. The key results are:
- There were no added emissions reductions or associated health benefits from the RGGI program.
- Spending of RGGI revenue on energy efficiency, wind, solar power, and low-income fuel assistance had minimal impact.
- RGGI allowance costs added to already high regional electric bills. The combined pricing impact resulted in a 13 percent drop in goods production and a 35 percent drop in the production of energy intensive goods. Comparison states increased goods production by 15 percent and only lost 4 percent of energy intensive manufacturing. Power imports from other states increased from 8 percent to 17 percent.
David Stevenson is Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute. He prepared this working paper for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.
Download original document: “A Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative”
Several analysts (links below) have examined the consequences of fossil fuel–fired generators, particularly natural gas, having to modulate their output and frequently start and stop to balance the highly variable infeed from wind turbines so that electrical supply is stable and reliable. The question is to factor in the increased emissions from operating the generators in that way compared with operating them more steadily, i.e., if they were not required to cope with the fluctuating contribution from wind turbines: How do the extra emissions of running the generators less efficiently compare with the emissions saved by running them less?
Since natural gas–fired generators are best able to respond quickly enough to balance wind energy, they have been added almost in parallel with wind (see graphs provided by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency), so it is not wind replacing coal-generated electricity, but wind plus its necessary partner natural gas (which, fracking and methane release aside, is much cleaner than coal). Might it not only be much cheaper and less land-intensive, but also even reduce emissions more to replace coal with natural gas only?
“The hidden fuel costs of wind generated electricity” by K. de Groot and C. le Pair
“The impact of wind generated electricity on fossil fuel consumption” by C. le Pair and K. de Groot
“Wind integration: Incremental emissions from back-up generation cycling (Part V: Calculator update)” [with links to Parts I–IV] by Kent Hawkins
“Big wind: How many households served, what emissions reduction? (a case study)” by Kent Hawkins and Donald Hertzmark
“Integrating Renewables: Have Policymakers Faced the Realities?” by Kent Hawkins
“Integrating Wind Power: Wind Fails in Two Important Performance Measures” by Kent Hawkins
“Analysis of Ontario’s electricity system” by Kent Hawkins
“Air emissions due to wind and solar power” by Warren Katzenstein and Jay Apt
“Calculating wind power’s environmental benefits” by Tom Hewson and David Pressman
Author: Clean Energy Wire; National Wind Watch
The following graphs show: 1) Installed net power generation capacity in Germany 2002–2016; 2) Gross power production in Germany 1990–2015 by source; and 3) German power import/export 1990–2015.
Note that since 2011, the capacity of nonrenewable sources has not decreased. The slight decrease in nuclear was made up for by an increase in coal.
Electricity production from coal and natural gas has hardly decreased, even with the substantial increase of production from renewables.
Since 2002, when the share of electricity production from renewables approached 10%, overproduction steadily increased. In other words, electricity production from renewables – which does not follow actual demand and in the case of wind is highly variable – was mostly exported into the larger regional grid when it could no longer be absorbed by the domestic grid.
Author: Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
Original Goals for Electricity System Transformation
- Reduce CO₂ emissions from power plants:
- Phase out coal plants and build new efficient CCGT gas plants.
- Restart 4 nuclear units at Bruce A and 2 units at Pickering A.
- Add wind, solar, bio-energy and small hydro generation.
- Refurbish nuclear units as they reach end of design life.
- Create new green energy sector jobs:
- FIT program to accelerate deployment of renewables.
- Create 50,000 jobs in new green sector.
- Keep transformation costs within 1% per year in additional costs:
- Install smart meters with Time-of‐Use (TOU) rates.
- Encourage peak reduction and load flattening.
- A careful engineering analysis and grid simulation would have shown that the policy goals could not have been economically accomplished because:
- Backup generation is required for wind and solar. Consequently wind and solar are displacement energy sources.
- The total value of displacement sources to the consumer is only the economic value of the displaced fuel. For hydroelectric and nuclear it’s 0.5 cents/kWh. For natural gas it’s 4 cents/kWh plus a carbon reduction benefit of 1 cent/kWh for each $30 per ton CO₂ of environmental costs.
- The policy to eliminate coal in Ontario reduced the carbon reduction benefit of wind and solar by 2.5× because gas is cleaner than coal. …
Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants?
- Wind and Solar require flexible backup generation.
- Nuclear is too inflexible to backup renewables without expensive engineering changes to the reactors.
- Flexible electric storage is too expensive at the moment.
- Consequently natural gas provides the backup for wind and solar in North America.
- When you add wind and solar you are actually forced to reduce nuclear genera,on to make room for more natural gas genera,on to provide flexible backup.
- Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO₂ emissions/kWh.
- Wind and solar with natural gas backup produces electricity at about 200 grams of CO₂ emissions/kWh. Therefore adding wind and solar to Ontario’s grid drives CO₂ emissions higher. From 2016 to 2032 as Ontario phases out nuclear capacity to make room for wind and solar, CO₂ emissions will double (2013 LTEP data).
- In Ontario, with limited economic hydro and expensive storage, it is mathematically impossible to achieve low CO₂ emissions at reasonable electricity prices without nuclear generation.
Download original document: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”