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Long-run marginal CO2 emissions factors in national electricity systems


  • Hawkes, A.D.


Estimates of the magnitude of CO2 emissions reduction brought about by an intervention in the energy system are important because they signal which interventions are the most potent in terms of climate change mitigation. Yet quantifying emissions changes is not trivial because interventions act on the margin of the energy system, rather than acting on all components of the whole energy system equally. Therefore, in order to accurately attribute outcomes to interventions, the specific energy system changes precipitated by the intervention should be estimated, along with the corresponding change in emissions. This paper builds on previous research in this regard estimating short-run marginal emissions factors in national electricity systems. It presents the concept of the long-run marginal emissions factor (LR-MEF), and builds and applies a new electricity system model to study the problem. For the British electricity system it is found that the average LR-MEF is approximately 0.26–0.53kgCO2/kWh for the coming decade, but this reduces to approximately zero by 2035 and onwards as the system decarbonises. Furthermore, it is found that the LR-MEF can diverge very significantly from the short-run. This highlights the state of flux of the British electricity system and the importance of taking structural changes in the electricity system into account when attributing emissions reduction to interventions.

Suggested Citation

  • Hawkes, A.D., 2014. "Long-run marginal CO2 emissions factors in national electricity systems," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 197-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:125:y:2014:i:c:p:197-205
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.03.060

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pereira da Cunha, Jose & Eames, Philip, 2016. "Thermal energy storage for low and medium temperature applications using phase change materials – A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 227-238.
    2. Ji, Ling & Liang, Sai & Qu, Shen & Zhang, Yanxia & Xu, Ming & Jia, Xiaoping & Jia, Yingtao & Niu, Dongxiao & Yuan, Jiahai & Hou, Yong & Wang, Haikun & Chiu, Anthony S.F. & Hu, Xiaojun, 2016. "Greenhouse gas emission factors of purchased electricity from interconnected grids," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 751-758.
    3. repec:eee:enepol:v:113:y:2018:i:c:p:28-40 is not listed on IDEAS
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    5. Roux, Charlotte & Schalbart, Patrick & Assoumou, Edi & Peuportier, Bruno, 2016. "Integrating climate change and energy mix scenarios in LCA of buildings and districts," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 619-629.
    6. Harris, A.R. & Rogers, Michelle Marinich & Miller, Carol J. & McElmurry, Shawn P. & Wang, Caisheng, 2015. "Residential emissions reductions through variable timing of electricity consumption," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 484-489.
    7. Patteeuw, Dieter & Reynders, Glenn & Bruninx, Kenneth & Protopapadaki, Christina & Delarue, Erik & D’haeseleer, William & Saelens, Dirk & Helsen, Lieve, 2015. "CO2-abatement cost of residential heat pumps with active demand response: demand- and supply-side effects," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 490-501.
    8. Fang, Chuanglin & Wang, Shaojian & Li, Guangdong, 2015. "Changing urban forms and carbon dioxide emissions in China: A case study of 30 provincial capital cities," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 519-531.
    9. repec:eee:appene:v:204:y:2017:i:c:p:318-331 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Staffell, Iain, 2015. "Zero carbon infinite COP heat from fuel cell CHP," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 373-385.
    11. Daniels, Laura & Coker, Phil & Potter, Ben, 2016. "Embodied carbon dioxide of network assets in a decarbonised electricity grid," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 142-154.
    12. Zhong-Hua Tian & Ze-Liang Yang, 2016. "Scenarios of Carbon Emissions from the Power Sector in Guangdong Province," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-14, August.

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    CO2; Carbon accounting; Marginal; Emissions; Energy system model; Electricity;

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