Abstract Electric power industry is a key to achieve the low-carbon social and economic development. Distributed generation (DG) has great potential in the development of low-carbon power grid because of its non-polluting property and large reserves. Therefore, it is of great importance to have a comprehensive investigation on low-carbon impact of DG on power grids. In this paper, regional power grids are focused as they are crucial supporters of regional economic and social activities and the primary undertakers of low-carbon development. Specifically, first, the carbon dioxide emission coefficient and energy consumption of DG are evaluated from the aspect of its life cycle. Then, the wind farm and photovoltaic power station are compared in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption, indicated that wind power is superior in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, the carbon intensity of provincial power grid is evaluated by grey prediction model with historical data such as electricity consumption, gross domestic product (GDP), carbon dioxide emission coefficient. Taking Jiangxi provincial power grid as the example, the results demonstrate that the proposed prediction method is of high accuracy and the integration of DGs can effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions and carbon intensity, thus, DG should be widely integrated into provincial power grids.

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