Energy Analysis

The Importance of Baseload Power Renewal

Date: 06/2014

            Contact: Peter C. Balash, PhD

Coal plants have traditionally provided reliable and affordable baseload power generation, and extensive coal retirements are prompting debate on potential grid impacts. This analysis examines how current forecasts may be understating risks: both under-projecting electricity demand growth and expecting an aging fleet to operate at historically high utilization rates.  Potential generation and capacity shortfalls due to a timing mismatch between unit retirements and unit additions are discussed.  

Also reported are operational conditions of retiring units January 2014; actual gas prices compared to projections; and price volatility risks of shifting to gas.

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Energy Related Flow Diagrams

Date: 12/2013

            Contact: Erik Shuster

This document contains several energy related flow diagrams (Sankey diagrams). For a Sankey diagram, the width of the arrows is proportional to the flow quantity. The following energy related diagrams included in the document are: U.S. energy use, international oil flows, international and domestic coal import/exports, and international natural gas flows.


Estimated U.S. Energy Use in 2012: Contributions from Fossil, Nuclear, and Renewable Energy

Date: 06/2013

            Contact: Erik Shuster

A diagram of major energy sources for each sector of the U.S. economy depicted as flows in a Sankey diagram. Proportions of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy provided for electricity generation and ultimately used by the residential, industrial, commercial, and transportation sectors of the economy are shown. This diagram rearranges and segregates information originally published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, based on data from the Energy Information Administration's Monthly Energy Review, May 2013.


Power Market Primers

Date: 06/2013

            Contact: Maria A. Hanley

This report is a series of primers on Independent System Operators (ISO) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO). They primarily explore the history, workings, and types of electricity markets comprising the seven regional transmission organizations in the U.S. The primers are accompanied by a Glossary for Power Market Primers in which many of the technical terms used in these primers are defined. The zip file allows interested users the ability to review the entire Power Market report or download individual primers in this series.


Conventional Generation Asset Management with Renewable Portfolio Standards Using Real Options

Date: 05/2013

            Contact: Peter Balash

The transition to a more renewable generation mix under a competitive electricity market will require individual power producers to use sophisticated tools to value conventional generators. Owners will need to understand what market prices signal new investments, temporarily suspending operation, reactivating mothballed generators or permanently abandoning a plant. Net present valuation from a traditional discounted cash flow analysis is limited in capturing the value of generation technologies, and it does not provide an optimal investment criterion. We present and evaluate a closed-form decision support framework using a Spark Spread Real Options approach to value generation assets and to capture optimal market price signals that minimizes financial risks of individual power producers under a transition towards a more renewable energy fleet.


Estimated U.S. Energy Use in 2010: Contributions from Fossil, Nuclear, and Renewable Energy

Date: 12/2011

            Contact: Ken Kern

A diagram of major energy sources for each sector of the U.S. economy depicted as flows in a Sankey diagram. Proportions of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy provided for electricity generation and ultimately used by the residential, industrial, commercial, and transportation sectors of the economy are shown. This diagram rearranges and segregates information originally published by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, based on data from the Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Review, 2010.


The Role of Coal in a Smart Grid Environment

Date: 11/2011

            Contact: Joel Theis

This report discusses how the traditional role of coal might change in a "Smart Grid” environment. We examine new roles that might leverage the advantages and mitigate the challenges for coal generation. Topics include: i) How baseload demand might change as Smart Grid technologies are adopted, ii) ways that coal might service this changing baseload including centralized generation, distributed generation (DG), and combined heat and power (CHP), and, iii) the potential for coal to provide ancillary services and reserves. A "Smart Grid City of the Future” model is developed to demonstrate operational and economic characteristics of coal generation technologies. The revision involves changing the payback period from four years to six years for the Smart Grid City analysis.


Eliminating the Derate of Carbon Capture Retrofits

Date: 09/2011

            Contact: Mike Matuszewski

Retrofitting existing PC plants with amine-based CO2 capture technology is thermally- and power-intensive. This study examines the benefit of installing a natural gas simple cycle to provide the auxiliaries required to operate the amine system such that the original power demand can still be met.


Frequency Instability Problems in North American Interconnections

Date: 06/2011

            Contact: Maria A. Hanley

Uniquely correlating the increased number of larger and longer-lasting frequency excursions in North American Interconnections with electricity market design and frequency control regulations, the report connects direct (technical) and indirect (non-technical) causes, both the physics of the problem and the regulatory environment (i.e., regulations, standards, and policies). The physical laws governing the frequency stability phenomenon and system control efforts are responsible for maintaining the nominal system frequency. However, the regulatory environment impacts policy on market design, affecting frequency stability and policies directly affecting frequency control practices. The report covers both technical and policy aspects to improve frequency stability.


Technical and Economic Analysis of Various Power Generation Resources Coupled with CAES Systems

Date: 06/2011

            Contact: Ryan Egidi

Compressed air energy storage (CAES) is an energy storage application with the potential to supplement intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar generators, and to enable better load following for more constant power sources such as coal combustion generators. To better understand CAES’s potential to provide practical energy storage for intermittent and constant-output power sources in the U.S., three practical considerations important to CAES planning and operations were analyzed: 1. Siting decisions 2. Development of optimal charge-discharge strategies 3. Design and operating factors that affect efficiency. These three analyses form the major sections of this study.


Thermal Plant Emissions Due to Intermittent Renewable Power Integration

Date: 05/2011

            Contact: Maria A. Hanley

Answering the question of whether operating one or more natural-gas turbines to firm variable wind or solar power would result in increased Nitrous oxide (NOx) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to full-power steady-state operation of natural-gas turbines, the analysis demonstrates that CO2 emissions reductions are likely to be 75-80% of those presently assumed by policy makers. NOx reduction depends strongly on the type of NOx control and how it is dispatched. For the best system examined, using 20% renewable penetration, the NOx reductions are 30-50% of those expected; in the worst, emissions increased by 2-4 times the expected reductions.


Electric Power System Asset Optimization 2011

Date: 03/2011

            Contact: Joel Theis

This report examines the current state of utility asset optimization within the framework of a vertically integrated utility and presents evidence on why assets are not fully optimized today. It then discusses how Smart Grid processes, technologies, and applications could be leveraged to improve today’s asset management programs enabling a significant improvement in the utilization of both system assets and human resources.


Electric Power System Asset Optimization

Date: 03/2011

            Contact: Joel Theis

This presentation summarizes the finding for the report, Electric Power System Asset Optimization, which investigates asset optimization within the framework of a vertically integrated utility and presents evidence on why assets are not fully optimized today. It then discusses how Smart Grid processes, technologies, and applications could be leveraged to improve today’s asset management programs enabling a significant improvement in the utilization of both system assets and human resources.


Assessment of Future Vehicle Transportation Options and Their Impact on the Electric Grid - Report

Date: 01/2011

            Contact: Justin Adder

Using critical review of existing literature and independent analyses, NETL summarizes the future of vehicle transportation and its impact on the electric grid. It begins with a discussion of the technology performance characteristics and market potential of key competitors in the vehicle sector, in order to set the stage for the discussion of EVs, which have the highest potential for short-term market penetration. EVs are also the key transportation technology that will have a significant impact on the electric power grid, making their usage and prevalence important to both electric utilities and load-serving entities and consumers.


Assessment of Future Vehicle Transportation Options and Their Impact on the Electric Grid - Presentation

Date: 01/2011

            Contact: Justin Adder

Using critical review of existing literature and independent analyses, NETL summarizes the future of vehicle transportation and its impact on the electric grid. It begins with a discussion of the technology performance characteristics and market potential of key competitors in the vehicle sector, in order to set the stage for the discussion of electric vehicles (EVs), which have the highest potential for short-term market penetration. EVs are also the key transportation technology that will have a significant impact on the electric power grid, making their usage and prevalence important to both electric utilities and load-serving entities and consumers.


Environmental Impacts of Smart Grid - Presentation

Date: 01/2011

            Contact: Justin Adder

Using critical review of existing literature and independent analyses, NETL summarizes Smart Grid’s impact on the environment and identifies additional research to clarify the complex relationship between Smart Grid, applications enabled by Smart Grid and environmental impact. Major impacts on environmental emissions enabled by Smart Grid include load reduction/shift from demand response and demand side management; electric vehicle charging and electrification of transportation sector; shift in generation mix toward intermittent renewables; shift toward distributed generation located closer to load and improved transmission and distribution operations.


Environmental Impacts of Smart Grid

Date: 01/2011

            Contact: Justin Adder

Using critical review of existing literature and independent analyses, NETL summarizes Smart Grid’s impact on the environment and identifies additional research to clarify the complex relationship between Smart Grid, applications enabled by Smart Grid and environmental impact. Major impacts on environmental emissions enabled by Smart Grid include load reduction/shift from demand response and demand side management; electric vehicle charging and electrification of transportation sector; shift in generation mix toward intermittent renewables; shift toward distributed generation located closer to load and improved transmission and distribution operations.


West Virginia Smart Grid Implementation Plan

Date: 09/2009

            Contact: Steve Bossart

Producing the first statewide Smart Grid Implementation Plan in the US, the West Virginia Smart Grid team examined current WV electricity grid conditions and the likely future state required to support the development of a 21st century economy. Progressing through established DOE Smart Grid characteristics and key technology areas, the analysis identified several gaps to address to establish a resilient and reliable energy infrastructure supportive of West Virginia's future economic development. A detailed business case, complete with cost benefit analysis and scenarios, offers solutions in an implementation plan with timeframes to direct specific benefits to consumers, society, and utilities.