This content will become publicly available on June 1, 2024
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- ACM SIGEnergy Energy Informatics Review
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- 47 to 60
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Most buildings still rely on fossil energy --- such as oil, coal and natural gas --- for heating. This is because they are readily available and have higher heat value than their cleaner counterparts. However, these primary sources of energy are also high pollutants. As the grid moves towards eliminating CO 2 emission, replacing these sources of energy with cleaner alternatives is imperative. Electric heat pumps --- an alternative and cleaner heating technology --- have been proposed as a viable replacement. In this paper, we conduct a data-driven optimization study to analyze the potential of reducing carbon emission by replacing gas-based heating with electric heat pumps 1 . We do so while enforcing equity in such transition. We begin by conducting an in-depth analysis into the energy patterns and demographic profiles of buildings. Our analysis reveals a huge disparity between lower and higher income households. We show that the energy usage intensity for lower income homes is 24% higher than higher income homes. Next, we analyze the potential for carbon emission reduction by transitioning gas-based heating systems to electric heat pumps for an entire city. We then propose equity-aware transition strategies for selecting a subset of customers for heat pump-based retrofits which embed various equity metrics and balances the need to maximize carbon reduction with ensuring equitable outcomes for households. We evaluate their effect on CO 2 emission reduction, showing that such equity-aware carbon emission reduction strategies achieve significant emission reduction while also reducing the disparity in the value of selected homes by 5X compared to a carbon-first approach.more » « less
Residential heating, primarily powered by natural gas, accounts for a significant portion of residential sector energy use and carbon emissions in many parts of the world. Hence, there is a push towards decarbonizing residential heating by transitioning to energyefficient heat pumps powered by an increasingly greener and less carbon-intensive electric grid. However, such a transition will add additional load to the electric grid triggering infrastructure upgrades, and subsequently erode the customer base using the gas distribution network. Utilities want to guide these transition efforts to ensure a phased decommissioning of the gas network and deferred electric grid infrastructure upgrades while achieving carbon reduction goals. To facilitate such a transition, we present a network-aware optimization framework for decarbonizing residential heating at city scale with an objective to maximize carbon reduction under budgetary constraints. Our approach operates on a graph representation of the gas network topology to compute the cost of transitioning and select neighborhoods for transition. We further extend our approach to explicitly incorporate equity and ensure an equitable distribution of benefits across different socioeconomic groups. We apply our framework to a city in the New England region of the U.S., using real-world gas usage, electric usage, and grid infrastructure data. We show that our networkaware strategy achieves 55% higher carbon reductions than prior network-oblivious work under the same budget. Our equity-aware strategy achieves an equitable outcome while preserving the carbon reduction benefits of the network-aware strategy.more » « less
China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2022, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The power sector will play a major role in this decarbonization process due to its current reliance on coal. Prior studies have quantified air quality co-benefits from decarbonization or investigated pathways to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. However, few have jointly assessed the potential impacts of accelerating decarbonization on electric power systems and public health. Additionally, most analyses have treated air quality improvements as co-benefits of decarbonization, rather than a target during decarbonization. Here, we explore future energy technology pathways in China under accelerated decarbonization scenarios with a power system planning model that integrates carbon, pollutant, and health impacts. We integrate the health effects of power plant emissions into the power system decision-making process, quantifying the public health impacts of decarbonization under each scenario. We find that compared with a reference decarbonization pathway, a stricter cap (20% lower emissions than the reference pathway in each period) on carbon emissions would yield significant co-benefits to public health, leading to a 22% reduction in power sector health impacts. Although extra capital investment is required to achieve this low emission target, the value of climate and health benefits would exceed the additional costs, leading to $824 billion net benefits from 2021 to 2050. Another accelerated decarbonization pathway that achieves zero emissions five years earlier than the reference case would result in lower net benefits due to higher capital costs during earlier decarbonization periods. Treating air pollution impacts as a target in decarbonization can further mitigate both CO2emissions and negative health effects. Alternative low-cost solutions also show that small variations in system costs can result in significantly different future energy portfolios, suggesting that diverse decarbonization pathways are viable.
null (Ed.)Public attention to climate change challenges our locked-in fossil fuel-dependent energy sector. Natural gas is replacing other fossil fuels in our energy mix. One way to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) impact of fossil natural gas is to replace it with renewable natural gas (RNG). The benefits of utilizing RNG are that it has no climate change impact when combusted and utilized in the same applications as fossil natural gas. RNG can be injected into the gas grid, used as a transportation fuel, or used for heating and electricity generation. Less common applications include utilizing RNG to produce chemicals, such as methanol, dimethyl ether, and ammonia. The GHG impact should be quantified before committing to RNG. This study quantifies the potential production of biogas (i.e., the precursor to RNG) and RNG from agricultural and waste sources in New York State (NYS). It is unique because it is the first study to provide this analysis. The results showed that only about 10% of the state’s resources are used to generate biogas, of which a small fraction is processed to RNG on the only two operational RNG facilities in the state. The impact of incorporating a second renewable substitute for fossil natural gas, “green” hydrogen, is also analyzed. It revealed that injecting RNG and “green” hydrogen gas into the pipeline system can reduce up to 20% of the state’s carbon emissions resulting from fossil natural gas usage, which is a significant GHG reduction. Policy analysis for NYS shows that several state and federal policies support RNG production. However, the value of RNG can be increased 10-fold by applying a similar incentive policy to California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).more » « less
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