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Johns Hopkins SAIS expert develops new research on improvements to global power transmission and distribution

Today, the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), launched new research in Nature Climate Change quantifying potential opportunities for emissions reductions from improvements to global power transmission and distribution.
The research estimates that electricity generated due to losses from transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure is associated with nearly one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents per year, and with improvements, these emissions could be cut by more than half - improving electricity consumption for consumers and helping countries further meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) goals.
Lead researchers, Kavita Surana and Sarah Jordaan, from the Center for Global Sustainability and Johns Hopkins SAIS respectively, measured potential emissions from compensatory generation across 142 countries. Inefficiencies from T&D infrastructure result in losses as electricity travels from supplier to consumer, which contributes to compensatory power generation, and ultimately to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These inefficiencies come from both technical and non-technical losses, such as aging infrastructure or fraud/meter tampering.
These emissions, though a smaller chunk in comparison to those associated with actual electricity generation, are still a significant mitigation opportunity with improved practices.
“Increased use of technologies like rooftop solar can lower T&D losses by reducing the reliance on energy generated far away from urban areas,” said Surana, Assistant Research Professor at the Center for Global Sustainability. “Surprisingly, only 32 countries had explicitly mentioned improving grid efficiency in their GHG mitigation strategies. And developing countries with large shares of fossil generation would benefit the most from technologies that create a more efficient grid infrastructure.”
“Solving this problem will not only result in reduced emissions, but a more efficient grid,” said Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins SAIS. “Most countries are already focusing on renewable energy as way to reach deep decarbonization goals, but, like fossil generation, it also faces losses from technical inefficiencies unless these challenges are addressed.”
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About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
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Monday, August 12, 2019
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