Accelerating the Shift to Environmentally Sensitive Electricity Through Collaborative Competition

2016 - Present
Team Leader
Chad Weikel
American Water Works Association

This project will improve the water quality of the Great Lakes Basin by reducing mercury emissions resulting from municipal water utility operations that depend upon electricity generation. This project builds upon the Fund’s previous investments in developing the Locational Electricity Emissions Methodology (LEEM) and the Polluting Emission Pump Station Optimization tool (PEPSO).

LEEM interacts with the power grid to determine, in real-time, the fuel sources that are being used to generate electricity and the emissions from those sources, and signals when cleaner forms of energy are available. The LEEM-PEPSO combination enables utilities to tailor pump operation schedules to minimize mercury emissions while meeting their system constraints.

According to the most recent data (USEPA, 2011), coal-fired power plants in the Great Lakes states emit about 7 tons of mercury each year. The team believes that moderate (i.e., 9%) adoption of LEEM-PEPSO within the Great Lakes Basin public water supply sector would result in measurable, annual mercury reductions.

The team will conduct a collaborative competition for municipal water utilities across the Great Lakes region. Prospective contestants will receive detailed information about LEEM as well as free access to the software and technical assistance. Participants will be encouraged to work collaboratively to achieve individual and collective pollution reduction goals over a 12-month term. A panel of judges will select winners in various categories.

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