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Improving Emissions Measurement Models Could Lead to Better Policy
A new report aims to review existing models’ attempts to quantify or describe the emissions effects of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
report aims to review existing models’ attempts to quantify or describe the emissions effects of combined heat and power (CHP) systems.
The report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that the models surveyed vary in design, scope and detail, but they all commonly seek to capture the functions of an energy economy and use knowledge of economic interactions to simulate the effects of economic and policy changes.
The Integrated Planning Model (IPM), Average Displaced Emissions Rate (ADER), Market Allocation (MARKAL), All Modular Industry Growth Assessment (AMIGA), Oak Ridge Competitive Electric Dispatch (ORCED), and National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) models are all reviewed in the report. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) CHP emissions calculator is also profiled.
“CHP systems offer huge improvements in system efficiency over traditional electricity generation,” says Anna Shipley, co-author and ACEEE Industry Program Research Associate. “However, the difficulty in analyzing the emissions displaced by both the heat and power outputs of these CHP systems has hampered the development of effective policies. Quantification of ‘displaced emissions’ would be immensely helpful,”
Despite the multitude of benefits of a CHP installation, relatively few tools exist for estimating the displaced emissions, or for predicting how CHP affects constrained transmission systems or distributed emissions implications, the report says.
“The absence of a comprehensive tool to estimate displaced emissions penalizes CHP by not allowing the full appreciation of the environmental benefits,” says Neal Elliott, co-author and ACEEE Industry Program Director.
The creation of such a tool might be approached by following the framework discussed in the report, says ACEEE. This would include initially providing coarse guidance and subsequently allowing the determination of specific benefits attributable to a CHP system. The CHP Emissions Calculator published by EPA is a good effort toward addressing some of these goals, the report says. However, the tool is too simplistic to allow geographical resolution of the displaced emissions.
“Hopefully this study will encourage the modeling community to attempt a more robust and accurate assessment of CHP emissions,” says Shipley.