Air Emissions Displacement by Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Energy Foundation
Project completed September 2015

One of the key benefits most attributed to energy efficiency and renewable energy (clean energy resources) is that they reduce the use of fossil fuel resources consumed for generating electricity, and in doing so reduce fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions. Synapse reviewed a range of sources and compiled evidence that clean energy resources have indeed displaced generation by fossil resources connected to the grid, and that they are projected to continue doing so in the future. The report includes:

  • utility-level case studies of electric system integrated resource planning (IRP) model results;
  • a review of national-level analyses;
  • an overview of marginal resources in different regional transmission organization (RTO) areas;
  • modeling case studies using EPA’s AVERT; and
  • a review of historical data demonstrating the impact that energy efficiency and renewable energy have already had on fossil fuel use.

In addition, the report highlights original Synapse analysis using the ReEDS model on the impacts of expanding clean energy resources on emissions related to fossil-fuel generation.