How important are current energy mix choices on future sustainability? Case study: Belgium and Spain-projections towards 2020-2030

F. Foidart, J. Oliver-Solá, C. M. Gasol, X. Gabarrell, J. Rieradevall

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite recent consumption decrease due to recession, European electricity sector is struggling to reach ambitious targets for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Our objective is to carry out a macro analysis of the energy mix in two European countries: Belgium and Spain. Life Cycle Assessments are carried for 2005 as well as for seven possible referenced scenarios to reach EU and also national legal objectives at the horizon 2020 and 2030. Ambitious renewable energy sources' deployment plans can decrease impacts on the environment significantly as those sources replace polluting traditional sources, such as coal/lignite, oil or gas. When concentrating on projections for the future in Spain, results show that a mix with little coal and oil replaced by up to 54% of RES-E energy sources could bring environmental benefits with CO2 emissions equivalent around 0.2 kg per kWh produced (compared with 0.54 kg in 2005). In Belgium, all future scenarios presented include more coal and gas with a limited share of RES-E; those mixes present more environmental harmful impacts (up to 0.56 kg CO2 equivalent). This is why RES-E deployment is crucial as long as it is part of an electricity mix with reduced quantities of traditional fossil fuels. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5028-5037
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Electricity mix
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Renewable energy

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