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Municipal Fleet Vehicle Electrification and Photovoltaic Power In the City of Pittsburgh.
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  • Abstract:
    This document reports the results of a cost benefit analysis on potential photovoltaic projects

    in Pittsburgh and electrifying the city’s light duty civilian vehicle fleet. Currently the

    city of Pittsburgh has a civilian passenger vehicle fleet of 118 vehicles travelling 718,000

    miles a year. This leads to an average (5 days a week) travel of 23.4 miles per work day per

    vehicle. We used a gasoline price of range of $1.50, $2.00 and $2.50 a gallon and electric

    price range of 4, 6 and 10 cents per kWh. We found that conventional vehicles would likely cost less to operate over 15 years than electric vehicles. This is due to the increased capital

    costs involved in purchasing the vehicles and charging stations, as well as the amount of miles

    these vehicles travel per year. To account for the of impacts of vehicle electrification on

    emissions we calculated the CO2, NOx and SO2 emissions from both a conventional and electric

    fleet. For electricity emissions we investigated several electric grid assumptions

    including current regional grid average, current regional grid marginal at night, current regional grid with 30% RECs, and a regional grid starting with 30% RECs and increasing to 100%

    over 15 years. The city is currently purchasing RECs for 30% of its municipal power needs.

    For GHG emissions, we found that EVs in Pittsburgh save GHGs compared to conventional

    gasoline vehicles in 3 of our 4 current electricity grid assumptions. As the GHG-­‐intensity

    of the grid improves over the next 15 years, BEVs have clear GHG advantages over conventional

    gasoline vehicles in Pittsburgh. The City of Pittsburgh has indicated if will transition to purchasing RECs for 100% of governmental energy use by 2030. While there challenges with

    attributing local air pollutant reductions directly to RECs on a one-­‐to-­‐one basis, the ombination of existing and proposed EPA power plant regulations and REC purchases highly

    increase the likelihood of a cleaner grid profile going forward. Yet SO2 emissions from

    the power sector remain problematic in a social net present cost analysis. SO2 was the highest

    cost pollutant for vehicle externalities and is not emitted in significant amount from gasoline combustion. Because of the SO2 emissions, vehicle electrification was also found to

    be likely to have higher total social emissions costs than gasoline options under most

    cases. A faster reduction in power plant air emissions improves the outlook for lectrification.

    One way of offsetting these emissions is to ensure that a portion of the needed electricity

    is generated from renewable or low-­‐emission sources. Photovoltaic (PV) generation is one possible renewable source to consider for distributed generation in an urban region.

    One potential location for PV cells would be on city-­‐owned parking facilities. Canopies could

    be built over city-­‐owned surface lots or on the tops of city-­‐owned garages. Currently

    the Pittsburgh Parking Authority maintains 10 downtown parking garages, with parking on the roofs, and 1 unshaded downtown surface level lot. The total surface area of these garages’

    roofs and the lot was found to be approximately 52,000 square meters. We estimated a peak

    capacity of about 6,000 kW of PV is possible on these facilities. The amount of electricity

    potentially generated from these PV systems could power between 24 and 27 million

    miles of electric vehicle travel per year, which is more than 30 times the yearly travel of the city’s civilian passenger vehicle fleet. The PV systems were found to have positive net

    present values, including the value of decreased pollution.

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