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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Dec 1;39(23):9016-22.

Improved accounting of emissions from utility energy storage system operation.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Several proposed utility-scale energy storage systems in the U.S. will use the spare output capacity of existing electric power systems to create the equivalent of new load-following plants that can rapidly respond to fluctuations in electricity demand and increase the flexibility of baseload generators. New energy storage systems using additional generation from existing plants can directly compete with new traditional sources of load-following and peaking electricity, yet this application of energy storage is not required to meet many of the Clean Air Act standards required of new electricity generators (e.g., coal- or gas-fired power plants). This study evaluates the total emissions that will likely result from the operation of a new energy storage facility when coupled with an average existing U.S. coal-fired power plant and estimates that the emission rates of SO2 and NOx will be considerably higher than the rate of a new plant meeting Clean Air Act standards, even accounting for the efficiency benefits of energy storage. This study suggests that improved emissions "accounting" might be necessary to provide accurate environmental comparisons between energy storage and more traditional sources of electricity generation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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