Industrial Applications

Electric Power Systems Partnership

The Electric Power Systems Partnership is a group of 20 major electric utility providers that have teamed up to report their carbon dioxide and SF6 emissions, and to share best practices. This collaboration has resulted in a 75% reduction in absolute SF6 emissions. Additionally, participants in the partnership have shown the ability to reduce the leakage of SF6 from their GIS.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is considering a regulatory measure to ensure that the state’s electricity sector does its part to address climate change and the resulting air and water quality. The proposed regulations would ensure that the state’s electric sector delivers clean energy to the homes and businesses of its citizens. MassDEP’s estimates suggest that GHG emissions from combustion of fossil fuels at electric power plants account for a significant portion of the state’s total emissions. In the coming years, Massachusetts hopes to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 2.2%. These reductions will be facilitated by the Clean Energy Standard, a measure of the state’s efforts to promote renewables, efficiency, and other green technologies.

The Clean Energy Standard is a state-run program that includes low-emissions power generation technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro. It also includes zero-emissions generation technologies such as biomass and waste-to-energy, a small-scale battery storage system, and energy efficient measures such as a statewide smart grid and demand response programs. The CES may prove to be an uphill battle for utilities, as the cost of operating the necessary infrastructure will likely surpass capital expenditures. However, this may be an opportunity to leverage state funds and resources to promote innovative new technologies.

The Clean Energy Standard is modeled after the federal government’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a program which requires electricity sellers to produce a certain percentage of their power from clean sources by the year 2050. In fact, the Clean Energy Standard’s acronym is RPS, but it is a bit more complicated than a one-size-fits-all rule. Unlike RPS, the Clean Energy Standard’s standard is applied to all retail sellers, not just MLPs. Furthermore, it’s not clear which type of retailers would be in the best position to benefit from the CES. For example, the largest generators by volume in the state are in the Northeast, not the middle Atlantic or western regions. While the Clean Energy Standard does not mandate delivery of clean energy to these areas, it does require that electricity from clean sources be delivered to these regions, by means of a dedicated transmission line. To make the most of the Clean Energy Standard, utilities need to implement energy efficiency programs, adopt more renewables, and build out their networks of microgrids to provide distributed electricity to more customers.