EPA Launches New Tool to Calculate Emissions Reductions from Clean Energy
EPA released its new ‘AVERT’ tool in February in recognition of the need for a more robust means of crediting energy efficiency and renewable energy in air regulation compliance plans. AVERT, which stands for AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool, is meant to enable state air regulators and clean energy project and program implementers to estimate emissions reductions in nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide based on the timing of expected energy savings or renewable energy generation using recent data on power plant operations. It also provides details on when and where emission reductions are expected to occur. AVERT is free to download and can be run on most PC computers with a recent edition of Microsoft Excel.
Calculating emissions reductions attributable to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs has normally involved either 1) multiplying reduced energy use (or renewable energy generation) by a general emissions factor for a region (e.g. lbs. SO2/kWh, as has long been available from EPA’s eGRID data) or 2) using complex – and expensive – power sector modeling. AVERT now provides a standardized tool that falls between these two approaches, allowing users to estimate the emissions reductions due to specific projects or policies more accurately than simple average emissions rate multiplication, but more easily and cheaply than full power sector modeling.