The United States relies on more than 1,000 natural gas- and oil-fired peaker power plants across the country to meet the requirements of infrequent peaks of electricity demand. These peaker plants tend to be more expensive and inefficient to run and to emit higher rates of carbon dioxide and health-harming criteria air pollutants for every megawatt-hour generated than baseload natural gas plants. Peaker plants are also typically disproportionately located in disadvantaged communities, where vulnerable populations already experience high levels of health and environmental burdens.
However, renewable energy and energy storage systems are beginning to emerge as competitive replacements for this fossil fuel infrastructure. Simultaneously, numerous states across the country are designing incentives and targets to support energy storage deployment. Together, these developments provide a unique opportunity to use energy storage to strategically displace some of the most polluting peaker power plants on the grid.
In this screening analysis, we identify peaker power plants across nine states that may be prime candidates for replacement based on operational and grid characteristics, and whose replacement may yield the greatest health, environment and equity co-benefits. This approach aligns state efforts to adopt energy storage with environmental and societal goals. We supplement our screening analysis with a discussion of how storage adoption and peaker plant replacement is affected by the policy and regulatory environment in each state.
Below we report our findings for the first two states in our study: Massachusetts and New Jersey. These findings include state-level summaries, interactive data visualization tools, technical documentation, and a summary of the policy and electricity market landscape. In early 2020, we will release additional findings for Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, New York and Texas.
This page provides definitions and descriptions of the data used in the data visualizations for the Peaker Replacement Project. Data sources are listed in our technical documentation. For additional questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To ask questions, make comments, report data errors, or request a walk-through of these data visualization tools, please contact PSE Director of Research Elena Krieger at email@example.com