VERMONT CO2 EMISSION FROM ELECTRICITY BASED ON CONSUMPTION

This article shows a method of calculating the CO2 associated with electricity consumption of any state in New England. In this case it was applied to Vermont. At the end of the article is a list of references.

 

The Energy Information Agency, EIA, calculates CO2 emissions based on in-state fossil fuel electricity generation; Vermont has very little of such generation, i.e., according to the EIA Vermont has a small quantity of CO2 emissions relating to electricity. It is much more realistic to base CO2 emissions on electricity consumption.

 

Source energy is the energy taken from mines, wells, forests, rivers, wind, sun, etc. Primary energy is the energy arriving at an entity, such as a power plant; it is source energy, less processing energy (extraction, refining, transportation, etc.). The EIA takes electricity fed to the grid by a power plant divided by overall plant efficiency to determine the CO2 of burning the primary energy. This neglects the CO2 associated with processing the source energy. Also the transmission and distribution energy losses, from power plant to user meters are not identified.

 http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/more-realistic-energy-s...

 

The EIA excludes CO2 emissions from non-fossil energy sources, i.e., nuclear, bio (mostly wood), hydro, wind, solar. The A to Z process of harvesting and burning wood, etc., emits significantly more CO2/kWh than coal or gas, and that CO2 is partially re-absorbed over a period of 50 - 100 years.

 

In the US southwest, large forest areas are periodically fertilized and fast-growing Georgia pines are planted in grid patterns. Time between harvests is about 25 years. Under those, rather unique conditions, the A to Z CO2 emissions are partially re-absorbed over a period of 25 years.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wood-for-fuel-logging-i...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/is-burning-wood-co-2-ne...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-comparison-of-wood-ch...

Electricity Mix Based on Power Purchase Agreements: There are non-technical people talking about the “Vermont electricity mix” or the “New Hampshire electricity mix”. That mix exists only on paper, because it is based on power purchase agreements, PPAs, between utilities and owners of electricity generators. A utility may claim it is 100% renewable. This means the utility has PPAs with owners of renewable generators, i.e. wind, solar, biomass, hydro, etc. That mix has nothing to do with physical reality.

 

Electricity Mix Based on Physical Reality: Once electricity is fed into the NE electric grid by any generator, it travels:

 

- On un-insulated wires, as electromagnetic waves, EM, at somewhat less than the speed of light, i.e. from northern Maine to southern Florida, about 1800 miles in 0.01 of a second, per College Physics 101.

- On insulated wires, the speed decreases to as low as 2/3 the speed of light, depending on the application.

 

If those speeds were not that high, the NE electric grid would not work, and modern electronics would not work.

 

The electrons vibrate at 60 cycles per second, 60 Hz, and travel at less than 0.1 inch/second; the reason it takes so long to charge a battery.

 

It is unfortunate most high school teachers told students the electrons were traveling.

Teachers likely never told them about EM waves, or did not know it themselves.

http://www.djtelectricaltraining.co.uk/downloads/50Hz-Frequency.pdf

 

This article explains in detail what happens when electricity is fed to the grid.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/popular-misconceptions-...

 

NOTE: If you live off the grid, have your own PV system, batteries, and generator for shortages and emergencies, then you can say I use my own electricity mix. If you are connected to the GMP grid, which is connected to the NE grid, and draw from any socket, then you draw the NE mix.

Drawing Electricity From The Grid: Vermont utilities physically draw almost all of their electricity from the NE and VELCO grid, about 6,100,000 MWh/y. Vermont utilities PAY for that electricity by:

 

- Buying about 72% from out-of-state generators under long-term and short-term power purchase agreements, PPAs.

- Buying about 14% from in-state generators under PPAs, mostly wood, methane, wind, solar, hydro.

- Obtaining about 14% from self-generation, mostly wood, wind, solar, hydro.

http://www.vtep.org/documents/03-26-13 Final VT Electricity at a Gl...

 

Selling Renewable Energy Credits: Vermont utilities, on a PPA and self-generation basis, claim about 50% of their electricity supply is from renewable sources, mostly hydro, wood, and wind. However, they sell almost all of the associated renewable energy credits, RECs, to out-of-state entities.

 

Thus that renewable energy cannot be credited towards Vermont RE goals, per a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, ruling regarding “double-counting”.

 

Vermonters get the adversities of wind turbines on ruined ridge lines and solar systems in fertile meadows, but out-of-state entities get to wear the RE halo!

Closing Vermont Yankee Increased New England CO2 Emissions: The closing of Vermont Yankee increased NE grid CO2 emissions from 28 million ton in 2014 to 30.2 million ton in 2015. See URL. The NE System CO2 intensity was 730 in 2013, 726 lb/MWh in 2014 and 747 lb/MWh in 2015, based on primary energy, about 8% higher, based on source energy. See table 1.1 in URL.

 

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2017/01/2015_emissio...

http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/01/2014_emission...

NOTE: Vermont utilities draw almost all their electricity from the NE grid. Vermont utilities sign contracts with various electricity suppliers under power purchase agreements, PPAs, which allow them to LEGALLY draw from the NE grid; otherwise they would be stealing. The PPAs have NOTHING to do with the CONSUMED electricity, per College Physics 101.

Vermont Electricity CO2eq Emissions

 

Method 1

Allocating Grid CO2 Emissions Based on Electricity Drawn From the Grid

 

2015 Data

NE grid supply

126,955,000 MWh

NE grid generation

107,916,000 MWh

NE grid CO2 emission intensity

747 lb/MWh or 747/2204.62 = 0.3388 Mt/MWh

NE grid CO2 emissions

30.2 million ton x 2000/2204.62 = 27.397 million Mt

NE grid generation with CO2 emissions

27.397 million Mt/0.3388 Mt/MWh = 80,856,726 MWh

NE grid supply without CO2 emissions

126,955,000 - 80,856,726 = 46,098,274 MWh, 36.31% of NE grid supply

Vermont supply to utilities

6,100,000 MWh

Vermont population

625,000

VT CO2 emission allocation

0.3388 x (1 - 0.3631) x 6,100,000 = 1,316,385 Mt, about 2.11 Mt/capita

 

http://www.rtoinsider.com/co2-new-england-22278/ - foobox-1/0/NE-Po...

http://isonewswire.com/updates/2016/2/16/regional-air-emissions-201...

http://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/resource-mix

https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/02/a5_environme...

https://www.rtoinsider.com/co2-new-england-22278/

http://instituteforenergyesearch.org/analysis/new-englands-emission...

 

Method 2

 

ISO-NE Calculation of Grid CO2 to Vermont: ISO-NE calculates Vermont’s share of grid CO2 emissions at 210 lb/MWh.

 

Vermont = 6,100,000 MWh x 210 lb/MWh = 640,500 US ton/y, per ISO-NE, or 581,053 Mt/y. See Table 5.1 of URL.

http://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2016/01/2014_emission...

 

Method 3

 

VT-DEC calculation: 0.810 MMt in 2013. If VT-DEC were to add the 657,733 Mt of McNeal/Ryegate, the total would be 1,467,733 Mt, which is close to method 1.

 

NOTE:

CO2 from McNeil (473,100 US ton, per EPA in 2015) and Ryegate (251,925 US ton, per EPA 2015), totals 725,025 US ton, or 657,733 Mt.

 

http://www.maforests.org/McNeil Emissions 2015.pdf

http://www.maforests.org/RYEGATE TECHNICAL.pdf

 

Table 5‐1
2014 New England System
Annual Average NOX, SO2, and CO2 Emission Rates (lb/MWh)

 

State

NOx

SO2

CO2

Connecticut

0.29

0.11

592

Maine

0.43

0.28

838

Massachusetts

0.54

0.35

932

New Hampshire

0.40

0.29

665

Rhode Island

0.19

0.01

945

Vermont

0.10

0.01

210

New England

0.38

0.22

726

Generation and Load of New England Grid, per ISO-NE data: About 84.9 % of the NE system load is generated in New England from various sources. See table. The electricity at user meters = retail sales = system load, as seen by ISO-NE, less transmission and distribution loss of about 8%.

2016 ISO-NE data

% of generation

% of load

System Load

Total Generation (b)

105572

1.000

0.849

100.00

84.90

124416

Gas

52059

0.493

0.418

49.30

41.80

52059

Nuclear

32745

0.310

0.263

31.00

26.30

32745

Renewables

10231

0.097

0.082

9.70

8.20

10231

Refuse

3316

0.031

0.027

3.10

2.70

3316

Wood

3200

0.030

0.026

3.00

2.60

3200

Wind

2519

0.024

0.020

2.40

2.00

2519

Solar

658

0.006

0.005

0.60

0.50

658

Landfill Gas

496

0.005

0.004

0.50

0.40

496

Methane

42

0.000

0.000

0.04

0.03

42

Steam

0

0.000

0.000

0.00

0.00

0

Hydro

7465

0.071

0.060

7.10

6.00

7465

Coal

2555

0.024

0.021

2.40

2.10

2555

Oil

517

0.005

0.004

0.50

0.40

517

Other (c)

0

0.000

0.000

0.00

0.00

0

Net Flow over External Ties (d)

20803

0.167

0.00

16.70

20803

Québec

12285

0.00

0.00

12285

New Brunswick

4842

0.00

0.00

4842

New York

3675

0.00

0.00

3675

0.00

0.00

Pumping Load (e) See note

-1959

-0.016

0.00

-1.60

-1959

Net Energy for Load (f)

124416

1.000

0.999

100.00

99.90

124416

NOTE:

When water is pumped from a lower reservoir into an upper reservoir a certain kWh is required.

When that water is allowed to flow back to the lower reservoir, about 80% of the kWh is recovered.

The difference is the “pumping load” in the table.

The more pumped water storage systems, the larger the pumping load

The more battery systems, the larger the storage losses.

 

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Comment by guy venturen on March 13, 2017 at 8:35am

More on loss....states like CA and  NJ....have 10% loss just in transmission.

  • Generating electricity, we lost 22 quadrillion Btu from coal, natural gas, nuclear and petroleum power plants in 2013 in the U.S. – that’s more than the energy in all the gasoline we use in a given year.
  • Moving electricity from plants to homes and businesses on the transmission and distribution grid, we lost 69 trillion Btu in 2013 – that’s about how much energy Americans use drying our clothes every year.
Comment by guy venturen on March 13, 2017 at 8:29am

The money should be spent on efficient usages....that is your best bang for the buck. The reduction of demand should be priority one. Wind Mills or Solar Plants or biomass clear cutting.....are environmental DISASTERS...as are coal and oil. Heck give away LED light bulbs and high effiecency furnaces and appliances....which give a 95% reduction in energy usage. Why don't we do that....then the renewable crowd won't be able to scam money. Billions are being made by CRONIES. An example is an Investment bank can buy a wind farm and with accelerated deprecation write off the cost against their obscene profits....and then sell it to another criminal investment bank to do the same. Do you think Warren Buffet owns massive electric companies to do good....or for the massive tax benefits against his billions in profits?

BTW.....energy loss on the grid on any source of electricity ...."The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that electricity transmission and distribution losses average about 5% of the electricity that is transmitted and distributed annually in the United States." So if demand is reduced....then there is no loss....wind, solar or hydro still have transmission LOSS.

Comment by Willem Post on March 11, 2017 at 9:38pm
Deborah,
As I mentioned, any energy generated in New England and fed into the grid, is he neric, and all drawing from the grid draw the same energy.
If energy did not move at near the speed of light, the grid would not work.
It does not really matter where it is generated, but where it is consumed.
Therefore, CO2 allocation has to be based on consumption.
CO2 should be measured from the source, such as a mine or well or forest, etc., to user's electric meter. That is generally not the case.
Comment by Deborah Andrew on March 11, 2017 at 4:24pm

Good Afternoon Willem,

Full disclosure: I am neither a scientist nor mathematician by training.  I would very much like to have a full, layperson's, grasp of your post.

If I understand, you are advocating that the measurement of CO2 emissions be calculated based on consumption alone.  If I am correct in my understanding, I would respectfully suggest that if power is being generated in VT, and that involves any release of CO2, if would seem just to share this emission with all who benefit from it in or outside of VT.  Conversely, if it is possible to ascertain the level of CO2 emissions at the source, and then, based upon usage of any entity along the supply line, fairly allocate responsibility for the CO2 emitted, than this makes sense to me.

The one niggle that remains for me is the absence of taking into account the preliminaries to delivery: mining, manufacturing, delivery, installation, distribution.  Additionally, the elimination of any accounting for other distinctly detrimental aspects of sources of electricity generation, for me, creates a flawed system.  In fact, for me, a system that glosses over a number of significanltly damaging aspects of several current energy sources supporting the electric grid.

I am also beginning to think that, in ignoring fuel as a source of energy largely for heating, manufacture and transportation (including the military & many wars we are engaged in), we are unintentionally leaving out a significant contribution to CO2 emissions, one that is challenging to face with a number of elements that could be radically changed, reduced, reconsidered.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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