Usage

This analysis is intended for screening purposes across a wide variety of possible projects. Every effort toward accuracy has been made, assumptions and limitations are communicated stated where possible, but ultimately it's the user’s responsibility to seek appropriate technical, business and legal guidance about applying these results to investment and regulatory decisions.

Summary

Significant carbon and criteria pollutant emissions reductions can be realized by implementing some smart grid projects. The emissions quantification tool (EQT) uses a standardized methodology for estimating the impacts of a range of types of specific smart grid projects, including quantitative details about each specific project, and reflecting regional differences regarding the effects of displacing fossil fuel generation. The EQT empowers stakeholders to consider another potential benefit stream for smart grid projects, to articulate project impacts, and to quickly screen alternatives. The EQT focuses on transparency of the methodology, assumptions, user input and results so that project impacts can be readily communicated and reproduced.

As part of its efforts to quantify benefits from the smart grid, the US Department of Energy's Office of Electricity OE's Smart Grid Research and Development Program tasked Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to develop an estimate of the potential energy and emissions benefits that can result from deployment of the smart grid.

PNNL's 2010 analysis, "The Smart Grid: An Estimation of The Energy and CO­­2 Benefits," articulated mechanisms by which the smart grid can reduce the energy use and carbon impacts associated with electricity generation and delivery. That analysis quantified the carbon footprint reducing benefits of some smart grid elements, introducing a third way to quantify smart grid improvements alongside the twin pillars of improved reliability and reduced costs. The report was well received for identifying direct and indirect benefits and for careful inclusion and exclusion to avoid double counting.

In this web calculator, commissioned for the SmartGrid.gov, PNNL extends the 2010 approach into a web-based tool to quantify the direct emissions impacts – positive and negative -- of specific planned or installed projects.

The EQT was implemented by PNNL's Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings Division, which delivers advanced research concepts and innovations that dramatically improve the performance of the nation's power systems, enhance its security and position the grid as a central asset for national strategic imperatives such as increased domestic energy content and management of carbon emission.

Approach

Please see the Resources tab for more detailed information about each module.

Overall, this calculator seeks to be a modular screening tool, built around simple algorithms with clear assumptions and analysis performed by trusted partners. Rather than relying on a computationally intensive analytical engine, the calculator aims, for the first time, to estimate the NOx, SO2 and CO2 repercussions of smart grid infrastructure investments, taking into account specific context and project details with a broadly applicable methodology.