It is common knowledge that burning fossil fuels is one of the key contributors to climate change. While much of our focus has been on mitigating carbon emissions after they have been generated, the fact remains that the most powerful way to reduce emissions is by preventing them in the first place. By increasing efficiency in our transmission and distribution systems, we have the opportunity to dramatically lower emissions and improve the sustainability from the start.
In 2018, about 33% of the U.S.’s total energy-related carbon emissions came from fossil fuel-burning and geothermal power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But an increasing interest in renewable energy sources has tempered the impacts of more traditional methods by shifting the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Through distributed renewable energy generation, end users gain access to clean, reliable power that also reduces losses among transmission and distribution lines. PEER highlights these technologies and strategies that enable improved efficiency and lessened negative environmental impact.
The PEER rating system’s second credit category, Energy Efficiency & Environment (EE), focuses on assessing the environmental impact of electricity generation, transmission and distribution and encourages the adoption of clean & efficient energy. Through this category, projects can get to know:
- The environmental consequences of the power that they generate and/or consume
- How to optimally adopt renewable energy technologies, and
- How energy storage can be integrated with distributed generation to improve power system operation
The Energy Efficiency & Environment Credit in Action
Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL), the first airport to achieve PEER Platinum Certification in the world, has marked itself as a sustainability leader through its concentrated efforts to improve their power structure. Air travel is a notorious carbon emitter. In fact, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) reported that the aviation sector currently accounts for 2.4% of the global carbon emissions from fossil fuel use. With this in mind, DIAL proactively took steps to reduce the airport’s carbon emissions by adopting airport carbon accreditation, installing on-site solar PV and procuring off-site renewable power.
Through its Distributed Energy Resources credit, PEER encourages projects to reduce environmental impacts and minimize losses associated with energy transmission by promoting local renewable and clean energy generation.
In keeping with this credit, DIAL installed a 7.8 MW solar PV plant at the airside of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Implementation of this local renewable energy generation helped DIAL achieve a cost savings of $725,000 and has mitigated about 8.5 kilo tons of carbon emissions. The new solar plant also reduced the stress on the local electricity grid by generating 10,000 MWh of clean power.
Through the Renewable Energy & Carbon Offsets credit, PEER promotes adoption of renewable technologies at a large scale to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world and counterbalance their own carbon footprints.
DIAL annually procures about 42 GWh of renewable power through an off-site hydropower contract, mitigating about 45 kilo tons of carbon emissions. In addition to this, DIAL mitigates about 121 kilo tons of carbon emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets. Altogether, these implementations have reduced DIAL’s carbon emissions by 175 kilo tons, which is equivalent to taking 37,000 cars off-road annually.
Using PEER’s Energy Efficiency & Environmental Performance Index (EE Index), which examines the sustainable electricity delivery to power systems, DIAL earned an EE Index score of 67. Compared to the Delhi State, who earned a score of 43, DIAL clearly shows improved efficiency and a reduction in environmental damage.
PEER provided DIAL with an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of its work to date and identify areas for improvement. Through the partnership, DIAL has set an environmental standard for airports across the world.
In the same way, other large infrastructure campuses (universities, manufacturing units, etc.), cities and utilities, and transit systems can assess their triple-bottom-line benefits through PEER certification. Read more about
Learn more about how PEER can help your project reach its triple-bottom-line in our ongoing series.