Distributed Energy Resources (DER) have the potential to supply a significant portion of increased power demands in California and the rest of the US. Distributed generation is characterized by many stationary power generators that are distributed throughout an urban air basin. In contrast, central-generation sources are typically located outside the basin. As a result, distributed generation may lead to increased pollutant emissions within an urban air basin, which could adversely affect air quality. The present project develops a systematic approach for characterizing the installation of DER in an urban air basin and simulates the potential air quality impacts using a state-of-the-art three-dimensional computer model. The assessment of the air quality impacts associated with DER is made in the South Coast Air Basin (SoCAB) of California for the year 2010. Initial results suggest that DER characterization can be systematically applied to urban air basins, and that realistic DER implementation in SoCAB by the year 2010 only slightly affects concentrations of ozone and particulate matter in the basin.

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