Analysis of Avoided Carbon-Dioxide Due to Photovoltaic and Wind Turbine Technologies Displacing Electrical Peaking Facilities

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Many studies that examine the impact of renewable energy installations on avoided carbon-dioxide utilize national, regional or state averages to determine the predicted carbon-dioxide offset. The approach of this computational study was to implement a dispatching strategy in order to determine precisely which electrical facilities would be avoided due to the installation of renewable energy technologies. This study focused on a single geographic location for renewable technology installation, San Antonio, Texas. The results indicate an important difference between calculating avoided carbon-dioxide when using simple average rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and a dispatching strategy that accounts for the specific electrical plants used to meet electrical demands. The avoided carbon-dioxide due to renewable energy technologies is overestimated when using national, regional and state averages. This occurs because these averages include the carbon-dioxide emission factors of electrical generating assets that are not likely to be displaced by the renewable technology installation. The study also provides a comparison of two specific renewable energy technologies: photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines. The results suggest that investment in PV is more cost effective for the San Antonio location. While the results are only applicable to this location, the methodology is useful for evaluating renewable technologies at any location.

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Conference Proceeding
35th Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
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Kelly, Jarod C., Deepak Sivaraman, and Gregory A. Keoleian. (2009) "Analysis of Avoided Carbon-Dioxide Due to Photovoltaic and Wind Turbine Technologies Displacing Electrical Peaking Facilities." Proceedings of the ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE2009) August 30–September 2, 2009 , San Diego, California, USA. 5: 863-869.
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