ISBPE 2018 Schedule, Wells College, Aurora, NY, USA

Wednesday - June 13, 2018

Conference Welcome Address and Reception 

Reception Starts at 3:15 and End 5:45

Welcome Address

Jessica Lambert, President ISBPE

The Haudenosaunee Welcomes ISBPE

Neil Patterson, Assistant Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, SUNY - ESF

Welcome to Wells College

Cindy Speaker, Dean and Provost, Wells College

Sustainability and BioPhysical Economics at Wells

Marion Brown, Director, Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Wells College

BioPhysical Economics So Far

Kent Klitgaard, Vice President, ISBPE

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Thursday - June 14, 2018

New evidence for the end of growth?

Morning Session: Energy, Climate Change & Sustainability

A Little Bit about Dynamics and Perception

Tom Stiadle

The Paris Agreement under the lens of biophysical economics

Albert Bates

Article II of the Paris Agreement requires signatories hold the increase of global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to hold to 1.5°C. These goals cannot be achieved merely by substituting renewable energy. They require carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The present range of CDR options includes:


changes to land use management;

accelerated weathering;

marine phytoplankton;

bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS); and

direct air capture (DAC).


Quantitative assessments have been undertaken for each of these options. Prior studies have largely externalized the labor and energy required to bring these methods to scale. Applying a biophysical economics analysis, we conclude that it would be possible to economically scale four of the five techniques to achieve drawdown (net sequestration over emissions) by mid-century if fossil emissions reductions were also forthcoming. The fifth technique (DAC) fails on net energy grounds.


BECCS would also fail were it limited to its common conceptualization relying upon low EROI biomass energy to pay for fragile and suspect geological storage of carbon dioxide. However, by substituting pyrolysis for combustion and adding biochar and carbon co-products, both feedstocks and storages diversify and the finance becomes favorable.

How much wind and solar are needed to realize emissions benefits from storage?

Energy storage is widely cited as a solution to enable increased usage of non-dispatchable and intermittent renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. While energy storage is essential to increase the penetration of the renewable energy, it may not be always inherently green and its environmental implications could depend on other factors such as the grid mix, energy storage capacity, and the effects of storage operation on the overall electricity generation. 

If operated to maximize profit, in many grid situations storage will increase carbon dioxide emissions by enabling a high carbon emitting technology (e.g. coal) to displace a lower one. While some research has been conducted so far on emissions vs. energy storage, effect of bulk energy storage operation as a price maker on the total grid emissions has not been investigated.

This work models the deployment of large, non-marginal quantities of both bulk storage and wind/solar to determine their combined effects on system emissions. Two different grid environments are analyzed: a coal-heavy grid (Midcontinent ISO in the Midwest region) and non-coal grid (New York region), deploying storage as a price-maker. For the current grid mix in New York, adding storage can slightly reduce carbon emissions, while storage increases emissions in the Midwest region. We estimate that adding storage operated to maximize revenue in the Midwest region will not be carbon neutral until renewables reach around 18% of the generation capacity from the current 10%. Different operation patterns for storage could realize higher carbon reductions. For example, a carbon price on emissions from generators would shift operation to make energy storage carbon

neutral even with current wind and solar capacities. Sensitivity analysis shows that a slightly higher natural gas price ($5 per MMBtu) yields much higher storage-induced carbon emissions in both New York and the Midwest. In this case, storage in the Midwest will not be carbon neutral unless 35% of total generation capacity is from wind/solar. This illustrates that low cost, efficient natural gas generation is important to realize emissions reductions with storage under economic arbitrage.