Pace Launches Carbon Duration Curve Study

November, 20, 2014
Karl R. Rábago
Executive Director
ClimateEnergy EfficiencyRenewable Energy

Pace Energy and Climate Center is happy to announce a recent award from the Heising Simons Foundation supporting policy analytic work that will help guide New York’s utility market reform process. In the coming months, the Center will undertake a novel analysis of the electric market to produce a revolutionary “carbon duration curve” that more accurately captures the instantaneous emissions impacts of electric resources on the grid. Taken in concert with New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, the carbon duration curve will inform the market for clean, distributed, and renewable energy resources.

Through REV, New York State seeks to build a more efficient electricity distribution system, and encourage deployment of distributed energy resources such as rooftop solar and combined heat and power (CHP), while reducing overall carbon emissions. New York is leading a national charge in 21st century utility reform, and Pace is at the forefront of the energy efficiency and renewable energy discussion within this movement. REV will fundamentally change our electric infrastructure to create a more efficient, economical, and sustainable energy system.

Within REV, distributed energy resources (DER) will be given specific value through a market-based system. Current electricity pricing systems follow the demand curves, while attempting to building in system costs and environmental costs of carbon. While this system is an improvement on older models, a true environmentally sound, market-based system must provide granular information about the actual emissions efficiency of each energy resource.

Within REV, distributed energy resources (DER) will be given specific value through a market-based system. Current electricity pricing systems follow the demand curves, while attempting to building in system costs and environmental costs of carbon. While this system is an improvement on older models, a true environmentally sound, market-based system must provide granular information about the actual emissions efficiency of each energy resource.

The “carbon duration curve” will provide a specific analysis for the granular time of use, and seasonally dependent emissions data of each energy resource. The resulting curve will allow the market to reflect the most efficient and environmentally friendly energy resources, increasing the economic value and rate of deployment of new technologies.

Specifically, the carbon duration curve looks at marginal and average emissions rates with respect to changes in generation over time. The figures shown here are a mock-up of the concept, and demonstrate specific potential to “carbon tune” generation, demand response and ramping to reduce overall emissions.

Pace Energy and Climate Center is pioneering cutting edge analysis to inform New York’s electric infrastructure and market reforms. Armed with a more precise emissions analysis, regulators and market participants will better realize the environmental benefits of new technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Pace Energy and Climate Center would like to thank the Heising Simons Foundation for their generosity in supporting this important work. We look forward to bringing this valuable information into the REV proceeding as a tool to help build the utility of the future.