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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Perspective on the U.S. Coal Industry

Date: 12/2013

            Contact: Gavin Pickenpaugh

This presentation provides an overview of the coal industry, focusing on the United States, but within a global context. Areas covered include coal prices, consumption, production, imports, exports, reserves, productivity measures, and more. Juxtapositions between the U.S. and other countries' coal industries are provided. In addition to providing a current snapshot of the U.S. coal industry, this work portrays both historical and projected aspects of the coal industry.


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.


A Decade of Economic Change: Fuel Prices and Households

Date: 02/2013

            Contact: Peter Balash

This working presentation focuses on the changes in fuel prices and household income during the period of 2000 to 2010. In real terms, household money incomes have fallen, while fuel prices have increased. Comparisons are made between increased driving cost and changes in income, by quintile. Other areas examined include the timing of energy price increases and recessions and a breakout of prices and consumption to determine the driving factor behind energy expenditure increases. To view this document, when you open the file, click "Read Only."


NEMS-CCUS: A Model and Framework for Comprehensive Assessment of CCUS and Infrastructure

Date: 06/2012

            Contact: Charles Zelek

This paper presents a recent application of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) funded NEMS-CCUS (National Energy Modeling System - CO2 Capture, Utilization, and Storage) Model which enables the simulation of CO2 pipelines and pipeline networks across the forty-eight contiguous states. The model was used to assess the role of CO2 capture, utilization and storage in both carbon tax and clean energy standard (CES) cases. The paper was presented at the Carbon Management Technology Conference held in Orlando, Florida, USA, February 7–9, 2012.


A Benefits Analysis of the Existing Plants Emissions and Capture (EPEC) Program

Date: 06/2012

            Contact: Charles Zelek

This paper presents an analysis of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Existing Plants, Emissions, and Capture (EPEC) program. The overall goal of NETL’s EPEC program is to develop carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies that limit the increase in the cost of electricity generation to 35 percent of that generated by an equivalent greenfield plant without CCUS. The analysis was made using NETL’s Carbon Transport and Storage (CTS) model integrated into the Energy Information Administration (EIA) National Energy Modeling Software (NEMS).


Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants

Date: 01/2012

            Contact: Erik Shuster

This presentation provides an overview of proposed new coal-fired power plants that are under consideration. It focuses on those power plant development activities achieving significant progress toward completion, in order to more accurately assess the ability of this segment of the power generation industry to support adequate electricity capacity in various regions of the U.S.


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.


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.


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.


Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States: Examination of the Costs of Retrofitting with CO2 Capture Technology, Revision 3

Date: 01/2011

            Contact: Christopher Nichols

This report describes the development of a database and geographic information systems (GIS) analysis of a defined population of coal-fired power plants in the U.S. to model the cost and assist in the assessment of the feasibility of retrofitting these plants with CO2 capture technology. In addition, an assessment of the impacts on generation, CO2 emission, and fuel consumption should all units be brought up to the average efficiency of the top decile of efficient units by nameplate was made. This report covers data sources, methodology employed, modeling and results. An appendix containing a catalog of aerial imagery used for this analysis is available as a separate document. Click here to see Appendix 3.


Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements

Date: 09/2010

            Contact: Erik Shuster

Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption from domestic thermoelectric generation sources were estimated for five cases, using AEO 2010 regional projections for capacity additions and retirements. Results demonstrate that carbon capture technologies could increase the water demand of thermoelectric power plants and indicate that consumption is expected to increase in all cases.


The Relationship Between the Economy and Electricity Consumption

Date: 09/2010

            Contact: Peter Balash

The observed relationship between growth in energy demand and the economy has been studied in the U.S. as well as other parts of the world. The literature to date provides mixed results as to whether energy consumption has a significant long term and short term relationship with the economy. This paper provides statistical evidence that in the U.S., electricity consumption and the economy (U.S. GDP or personal income) have significant long-run and short-run relationships.


Investment Decisions for Baseload Power Plants

Date: 01/2010

            Contact: Anthony Zammerilli

This report, prepared by ICF International, provides an identification and discussion of factors considered for investment decisions for base load power generation in the U.S.(for example levelized cost of electricity, design and construction lag, fuel cost and variability, technology performance risk, initial capital outlay, water use, future cost of carbon emissions) and discusses their relative importance in investment decisions. There is a detailed discussion on current and advanced power plant technologies, including ultra-supercritical coal power, coal power with carbon dioxide capture and storage, and nuclear power. In addition, there is a detailed description and analysis of two case studies from actual power plant projects to substantiate the identified objective functions from the above items.


Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States: Examination of the Costs of Retrofitting with CO2 Capture Technology and the Potential for Improvements in Efficiency, Appendix 3

Date: 12/2009

            Contact: Christopher Nichols

This appendix contains the catalog of all imagery used in the GIS analysis portion of the report.


Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool

Date: 10/2009

            Contact: John G. Wimer

The Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool illustrates key data from the Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants - Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity report. The tool provides an interactive summary of the full report and serves as an electronic desk reference for quickly obtaining plant cost and performance data and for comparing and contrasting several technologies. Performance, emissions, and cost data presented include: net and gross output, heat rate, efficiency, water use, SO2, NOx, CO2, PM, and Hg emissions, total plant cost and levelized cost of electricity. NOTE: Click here for additional Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Power Plants information.


U.S. Capacity Margin Analysis Model

Date: 09/2009

            Contact: John G. Wimer

This interactive tool models U.S. electric capacity margins for eight NERC regions. Users can change the plant construction probability of currently proposed capacity and the availability of each fuel mix. User inputs are compared to NERC's 2008 capacity margin forecasts. This tool can be used to look at various "what if" scenarios.


U.S. Electricity Market View Interactive Tool

Date: 09/2009

            Contact: John G. Wimer

This interactive tool shows U.S. electric capacity and generation by prime mover and primary fuel categories for each of the ten NERC regions.