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Future impacts of distributed power generation on ambient ozone and particulate matter concentrations in the San Joaquin Valley of California.


Distributed power generation-electricity generation that is produced by many small stationary power generators distributed throughout an urban air basin-has the potential to supply a significant portion of electricity in future years. As a result, distributed generation may lead to increased pollutant emissions within an urban air basin, which could adversely affect air quality. However, the use of combined heating and power with distributed generation may reduce the energy consumption for space heating and air conditioning, resulting in a net decrease of pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. This work used a systematic approach based on land-use geographical information system data to determine the spatial and temporal distribution of distributed generation emissions in the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin of California and simulated the potential air quality impacts using state-of-the-art three-dimensional computer models. The evaluation of the potential market penetration of distributed generation focuses on the year 2023. In general, the air quality impacts of distributed generation were found to be small due to the restrictive 2007 California Air Resources Board air emission standards applied to all distributed generation units and due to the use of combined heating and power. Results suggest that if distributed generation units were allowed to emit at the current Best Available Control Technology standards (which are less restrictive than the 2007 California Air Resources Board standards), air quality impacts of distributed generation could compromise compliance with the federal 8-hr average ozone standard in the region.

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