R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

It’s Complicated.
What’s the value of wind and solar generation? The answer: It depends on many factors—in particular, installed renewable capacity, variability of output over time and across regions, operational flexibility of fossil and nuclear power plants, regional electricity trade, and energy storage. This conclusion comes from a novel modeling framework developed by EPRI, which was applied to evaluate solar and wind deployment scenarios in California and Texas. The framework can be used to examine other renewable technologies and states. Researchers analyzed long-term electric sector capacity planning along with various aspects of power market operations, providing a ...
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EPRI Study: Electrification Can Save Detroit Airport Nearly $16 Million
If deployed at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, electric ground support equipment and gate electrification technologies could yield about $16 million in lifetime savings and beneficial reductions in emissions relative to diesel-powered counterparts, according to EPRI research. This assumes that the airport charges the equipment during off-peak times at lower utility rates. Researchers identified potential to electrify 452 diesel- and gas-powered ground-service units, 19 diesel-powered heating/cooling units, and 38 diesel ground-power units for a 20,000-ton reduction in annual CO2 emissions. Other insights based on the study:
EPRI Examines How Utilities Can Help Guide Customers in Adopting EVs in Their Service Territories
EPRI in 2017 will survey residential utility customers to examine their stated preferences for electric vehicles (EVs) and identify how utilities may help support EV adoption in diverse service territories. In a 2014 EPRI survey of more than 4,000 EV owners in 11 states and the District of Columbia, only 5% said that the utility played a role in their purchase decision, and just 4% changed their utility rates after the purchase to lower charging costs. Yet, respondents appeared to envision a ...
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The Answer May Be ‘Yes’ in Some Cases, According to Retrofit Case Study in Alabama
Retrofitting some existing coal plants with partial may be competitive with newly constructed natural-gas–combined-cycle plants with respect to CO2 emissions and economics. This insight comes from an EPRI analysis of a partial capture retrofit of the 773-megawatt coal-fired Plant Barry Unit 5 operated by Southern Company subsidiary Alabama Power. The capture system used an amine-based solvent to absorb 45% of the CO2 from the plant’s flue gas, reducing total plant emissions to about 830 pounds per megawatt-hour. This is comparable to an average natural-gas–combined-cycle ...
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EPRI Sizes Up Autonomous, Underwater Inspector-Bots
EPRI research sees significant potential to better inspect hydroelectric plants’ underwater structures with autonomous, untethered vehicles. Research also points to the need for additional technology development. A survey of government agencies, hydropower operators, utilities, and electric cooperatives identified the need for such vehicles to inspect tunnels and penstocks. This can replace the use of divers and help mitigate related safety hazards. Tethered vehicles today can travel only limited distances in hydro plants’ tunnels. To assess the state of the technology, researchers looked far afield, in oceanography, disaster recovery, oil and gas ...
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