Office of Electricity

Emissions Tool Estimates the Impact of Emissions on Smart Grid Infrastructure Investments

July 28, 2016

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In the face of extreme weather events, states, utilities, and other companies are increasingly seeking ways to boost resiliency while reducing their carbon footprint.  The Emissions Quantification Tool (EQT), which was conceived of and sponsored by the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and implemented by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) with active engagement from the utility and energy industry, quantifies the direct emissions impacts – positive and negative – of specific planned or installed smart grid projects.  The free, web-based calculator aims to estimate the impact of NOx, SO2 and CO2 emissions on smart grid infrastructure investments, taking into account specific context and project details with a broadly applicable methodology.  A paper outlining the science behind the EQT was featured as a best conference paper at this month’s IEEE Power & Engineering Society meeting in Boston. 

The EQT calculates the resulting changes to emissions and energy use profiles associated with the integration of smart grid projects, including energy storage, enabled solar generation, advanced metering and others.  Calculations are based on well-established historical data sources and models, like the EPA’s own eGRID database, a greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, and Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool (AVERT).  Users have the flexibility to enter their own custom data or choose from curated inputs and be guided through the calculation. Users can access all underlying data, algorithms, and assumptions readily in their results and the ‘resources’ section. By unifying a range of different tools and data-streams in an easy to use interface, the tool helps illuminate the benefits of smart grid investments for a cleaner, more resilient energy future.

The free Emissions Quantification Tool is available HERE.