Modeling Distributed Electricity Generation in the NEMS Buildings Models - White Paper PDF Download Link

Modeling Distributed Electricity Generation in the NEMS Buildings Models
by Erin Boedecker, John Cymbalsky, and Steven Wade

Distributed generation refers to the production of electricity in a decentralized facility—in the present context, a building. This “nontraditional” electricity source has the advantage of allowing the capture of the “waste” heat from generation, thereby offsetting the energy requirements of other end uses and potentially lowering total energy requirements across multiple end uses (i.e., the combined requirements for electric energy, space heating energy, and water heating energy).

This paradigm contrasts with central generation, where waste heat is often a negative externality that is emitted directly into the biosphere. In addition to utilizing heat energy that would otherwise be wasted, on-site generation has the additional efficiency benefit of avoiding the transmission and distribution losses associated with centralized generation and, possibly, the need for upgrades to transmission and distribution grids.

Currently, the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) buildings models characterize several distributed generation technologies: conventional oil or gas engine generation, combustion turbine technologies, and newer, still developing technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV), fuel cells, and microturbines.

This paper describes the modeling techniques, assumptions, and results for the Annual Energy Outlook 2000 reference case. In addition, a series of alternative simulations are described, and key results for distributed generation are presented.

Recently, distributed generation technologies have received much attention for the potential energy savings and reliability assurances that might be achieved as a result of their widespread adoption. Fueling the attention have been the possibilities of international agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, electricity sector restructuring, high power reliability requirements for certain activities, and concern about easing transmission and distribution capacity bottlenecks and congestion.

This paper presents the modeling methodology, projected market penetration, and impact of distributed generation with respect to offsetting future electricity needs and carbon dioxide emissions in the residential and commercial buildings sector in the Annual Energy Outlook 2000 (AEO2000) reference case.

Also, a series of alternate simulations are presented with key distributed generation results. These alternatives include more optimistic assumptions regarding the cost of the newer distributed technologies, favorable compensation rates for grid sales (net metering), and aggressive tax incentives for selected technologies. Projections of future levels of distributed generation and estimated impacts on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions are presented.


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