Raising renewable energy to 14 percent of the electricity supply operated by power grid manager PJM Interconnection would reduce CO2 emissions by 12 percent compared to 2011 levels, according to a study.
Under a 30 percent renewable energy penetration scenario, in which more than 100,000 MW of renewable capacity is added, emissions would drop 29 percent compared to 2011 levels, the study says.
The PJM Renewable Integration Study, prepared by GE, was commissioned to help PJM prepare for a considerably higher penetration of renewable energy in the next 10 to 15 years. Every jurisdiction within PJM’s 13-state footprint, except Kentucky and Tennessee, has a adopted renewable energy standards.
The study found the PJM system, with adequate transmission expansion and additional regulating reserves, will not have any significant issues operating with up to 30 percent of its energy provided by wind and solar generation.
Under a 14 percent RPS scenario, in which wind and solar generation meets existing Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates by 2026, it would cost $3.7 billion to add new lines and transmission upgrades to handle the addition of clean energy. Under a 30 percent wind and solar penetration, it would cost between $8 billion to $10.9 billion to add new lines and upgrades.
Among the major conclusions of the study, on average 36 percent of the delivered renewable energy displaced PJM coal fired generation, 39 percent displaced PJM gas fired generation and the rest displaced imports or increased exports.
The study did not uncover any insurmountable operating issues in any of the simulated scenarios of system-wide hourly operation. Every scenario examined led to lower PJM fuel and operations and maintenance costs as well as lower average locational marginal prices.
Greenhouse gas emissions in the US totaled 6,501,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2012, a 3.3 percent reduction from the previous year, according to an annual draft report released by the EPA in February.