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The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions: The Full Portfolio

What the U.S. electricity sector must do to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in coming decades.

Fortnightly Magazine - October 2007

1: Distribution-enabled Technologies

While active RD&D and commercial development is advancing the capabilities of distribution-enabled technologies—such as energy efficient devices, distributed energy resources, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—their widespread deployment requires a smart, interactive infrastructure, including a range of solutions that can be integrated all along the distribution system. To reduce both energy consumption and CO 2 emissions, greater synergy is needed between energy consuming and producing devices and the electrical distribution system.

Technology development pathways are described below for the grid-enabled technologies that will enable widespread commercialization of energy efficiency (EE), distributed energy resources (DER), and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs).

Energy Efficiency and Distributed Energy Resources

Energy-efficient technologies provide many of the most cost-effective, near-term options for CO 2 emissions reduction, since many can be deployed faster and at lower cost than supply-side options such as new central power stations. Distributed energy resources deliver electricity closer to the point of use, better matching demand with supply, and mitigating the need for new generation and transmission facilities.

Key research milestones and deployment targets include:

• By 2010, ensure standards for interoperability are in place, and the advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) has the capability for real-time data acquisition and dynamic energy management.

• By 2012, complete pilot projects to assess the capability of dynamic energy management based upon first-generation AMI, providing real-time pricing signals and emergency demand condition signals to smart devices.

• By 2015, ensure that smart resources are built to standards. End-use devices and DER are routinely manufactured with interactive intelligence built into their operating systems based upon accepted communication standards.

• By 2020, ensure AMI can be integrated with smart resources (smart end-use devices and smart DER), allowing consumers to optimize energy use.

Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), building upon the engineering and market acceptance of traditional hybrids, are expected to enter the U.S. market around 2010, and to gain market penetration through 2050 because of their superior fuel performance and environmental benefits. With parallel advances in smart vehicles and the smart grid, PHEVs will become an integral part of the distribution system itself within 20 years, providing storage, emergency supply, and grid stability.

Key research milestones and deployment targets include:

• By 2012, develop advanced on-board chargers capable of handling two-way power flow, opening the door for vehicles to become potential supply resources.

• By 2017, deploy PHEVs to represent 10 percent of new light vehicle sales in the United States.

• By 2020, ensure PHEVs can be integrated into the smart distribution system and managed in aggregate to meet peak loads and emergencies, and to provide ancillary services.

• By 2030, deploy PHEVs to represent 30 percent of new light vehicle sales in the United States.

Smart Distribution Grid

The technologies discussed above share a number of common attributes. First, they have or will have high levels of distributed intelligence (embedded computers) built into their basic operating structure, allowing them to become “smart resources” that are interactive with their digital environment. Second, they incorporate standardized communication protocols, affording high levels of interoperability with other devices