Transformation to wind and solar achievable with low indirect GHG emissions

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Gawdzilla Sama
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Transformation to wind and solar achievable with low indirect GHG emissions

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:00 pm

Transformation to wind and solar achievable with low indirect GHG emissions
Date: December 8, 2017

Source: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Summary: Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect GHG emissions in their life cycle. The new study finds that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions and scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect GHG emissions -- and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.

Different low carbon technologies from wind or solar energy to fossil carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) differ greatly when it comes to indirect greenhouse gas emissions in their life cycle. This is the result of a comprehensive new study conducted by an international team of scientists that is now published in the journal Nature Energy. Unlike what some critics argue, the researchers not only found that wind and solar energy belong to the more favorable when it comes to life-cycle emissions. They also show that a full decarbonization of the global power sector by scaling up these technologies would induce only modest indirect greenhouse gas emissions -- and hence not impede the transformation towards a climate-friendly power system.

"Both fossil and non-fossil power technologies still come with a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions within their life cycle -- on the one hand because it needs energy to construct and operate them, on the other hand because of methane emissions, e.g. from coal and gas production," explains lead author Michaja Pehl. "However, we found there are substantial differences across technologies regarding their greenhouse gas balance. Electricity production from biomass, coal, gas and hydropower for instance induces much higher indirect greenhouse gas emissions than nuclear electricity, or wind and solar-based power supply."

With their study the researchers provide an innovative and comprehensive global analysis of embodied energy use and indirect greenhouse gas emissions -- from all relevant power sector technologies. For the first time, their study combines the strengths of simulations based on integrated energy-economy-climate models that estimate cost-optimal long-term strategies to meet climate targets with life cycle assessment approaches. So far, these research branches have operated separately. Exploring the life cycle emissions of future low-carbon supply systems and the implications for technology choices, they found that fossil power plants equipped with CCS will still account for life-cycle emissions of around 100 grams of CO2-equivalents per kWh of electricity produced, ten times more than the around 10 grams of CO2-equivalents for wind and solar power they project for 2050 in a climate protection scenario in which power production is almost completely decarbonized.

Wind and solar provide a much better greenhouse gas emissions balance than fossil-based technologies


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Lance Kennedy
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Re: Transformation to wind and solar achievable with low indirect GHG emissions

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:23 am

Do not forget nuclear, which also does not emit appreciable amounts of greenhouse gas.


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