Nodal Project Evaluation Applied to Large-Scale Renewable Energy Procurment: A case analysis of Massachusetts clean energy initiative

AbstractAbstract Evaluating a large number of renewable energy project proposals received in response to a single Request for Proposals (RFP) in a consistent manner independent of size and technology and fully cognizant of location and timing is a significant challenge. The current paper presents a methodology and set of tools for preparing a comparative quantitative evaluation of the economic and environmental benefits and costs of the renewable project proposals over a 25-year time horizon. The paper presents a case study of the large-scale renewable energy procurements undertaken in 2018 to comply with Massachusetts energy diversity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals mandated under its “Green Communities Act” of 2008 and Global Warming Solutions Act” of 2008. Section 83D of the Green Communities Act requires Massachusetts electric distribution companies (EDCs) to acquire 9,450 gigawatt hours per year of cost-effective renewable energy. The quantitative evaluation of each proposed renewable project is based on a scenario analysis approach in which a simulation modeling tool calculates energy costs and GHG emissions in the Northeast region (New England and New York) over the evaluation period for a “but for” case without any of the proposed renewable projects and for individual cases for each proposed renewable project. Working from a single database structure, the simulation modeling tool moves from a 30-year, annual resource adequacy module, to an hourly, nodal, 20-year plus SCUC / SCD, to a detailed capacity market valuation model. The simulation modeling system (ENELYTIX) operates with cloud-based technology utilizing user-friendly Excel interfacing with complex data / information transfer from an OLAP cube on the cloud to users’ workstations.


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