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The environmental impacts of green technologies in TX

Elisheba Spiller, Peter Sopher, Nicholas Martin, Marita Mirzatuny and Xinxing Zhang

Energy Economics, 2017, vol. 68, issue C, 199-214

Abstract: Using detailed electricity consumption and solar generation data from homes in an Austin TX neighborhood between 2013 and 2015, we calculate the environmental benefits of electric vehicles and rooftop solar panels. We estimate time-varying electric grid marginal emissions and water consumption rates in ERCOT through a regression based analysis, and find that emissions and water consumption rates are lowest at high demand times due to those hours' reliance on cleaner natural gas generators. We utilize these emissions and water consumption rates to estimate the avoided GHGs and water consumption from grid electricity that solar panels provide. For electric vehicles, we estimate the net effect of this technology, given the avoided gasoline consumption but increase in grid-related charging. We find that, on average, solar panels avoid approximately 75% of yearly grid-related emissions (0.7tons CO2/year per kW of solar capacity) and yearly grid-related water consumption (400gal/year per kW of solar capacity), where the benefits depend on the orientation of the panels. We also find that electric vehicle deployment results in avoiding up to 70% of fuel-related emissions (3.5tons CO2/year) and 60% of fuel-related water consumption (1400gal/year), though the benefits significantly decrease with the efficiency of the counterfactual vehicle.

Keywords: Rooftop solar; Electric vehicles; Marginal emissions; Water energy nexus (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q42 Q53 Q54 Q55 Q25 H (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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