Background:

Transmission and distribution (T&D) Energy Efficiency improvement is the overlooked area for actively “harvesting” energy savings and associated environmental benefits.  New renewable energy plants deliver electricity to new, high efficiency end-use technologies via over lower efficiency, century-old design conductors. Utilities have almost no policy guidance to explicitly consider economical efficiency improvements when making grid investment decisions. The T&D Energy Efficiency Policy Initiative addresses these concerns.

Objective: 

“Harvest” energy savings and associated environmental benefits by reducing the losses associated with delivering electricity from generating plants to the end-use consumer.

Method: 

State energy policymakers and utility regulators should provide policy guidance to state utilities to include increased energy efficiency objectives early in the T&D project planning process for all (significant) capital expenditures for the electric T&D system. Tools developed for end-use energy efficiency projects / programs can be adapted to guide the decision of how much more capital spending for improved efficiency is economical and acceptable for a specific T&D project.

Expected Results for an effective T&D Energy Efficiency Policy Initiative:

A state can expect to see a 30% or more reduction in transmission line losses within that state’s T&D system over a period of 20 years; energy savings and air emission reductions including CO2. Fewer MW of generating capacity will be required over time to serve the electric demand than would be required absent this initiative. The delivered cost of electricity to the end-use consumer will be lower over time than it would be without this initiative. As economical T&D energy efficiency improvement considerations are integrated into the T&D capital project planning process, innovative ways and technologies for reducing T&D losses will be identified.

Examples:

Minnesota is implementing a “Utility Infrastructure Efficiency” (EUI) policy which provides guidance to state utilities to include energy efficiency improvements when making T&D investments.

The T&D Achievable Potential from a “bottom-up” assessment of electricity saving potential is estimated at 1.34 million MWh savings per year by the end of their 20 year view.  Based on the January 2019 EIA state electric profile for Minnesota, this represents:

  • A 36.8% reduction from 2018 T&D losses
  • A 646,000 metric-ton per year CO2 reduction at EIA 2018 emission rate

If the US were to implement an effective T&D Energy Efficiency Policy Initiative:

  • A 30% reduction in T&D losses can be achieved resulting in 60.8 million MWh per year of energy saved;
  • A reduction of almost 8,000 MW of required generating plant operating just to serve the T&D system losses; and
  • A reduction of 27.8 million metric-tons of CO2 per year emitted (at EIA 2018 rate);

The savings from the 20 largest electric consuming states would include:

  • A reduction of 47.2 million MWh per year from T&D system losses;
  • A reduction of about 6,000 MW of required generating plant operating just to serve the T&D system losses; and
  • A reduction of 20.4 million metric-tons of CO2 per year (at IEA 2018 rate).

An American state implementing an effective T&D Energy Efficiency Policy Initiative could expect to save from 100,000 to 6.6 million MWh per year depending on geographic size and electric load.

For More Information, please contact Mr. David Townley, Director of Public Policy, CTC Global Corporation dtownley@ctcglobal.com

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