Use of ecological footprinting to explore alternative domestic energy and electricity policy scenarios in an Irish city-region
The purpose of this paper is to measure the ecological footprint (EF) of energy and electricity consumption by the residents of an Irish city-region, in terms of the land area required to sequester carbon emissions from energy and electricity consumption and to support energy infrastructure and development. The EF was also used to analyse the impact of potential scenarios and policies and results were compared with the business as usual (BAU) projection in order to identify the optimal policy measure. It was found that the total EF for domestic energy and electricity consumption by Limerick residents increased by 7% from 0.125 global hectares (gha) per capita in 1996 to 0.134Â gha per capita in 2002. The EF was then used to assess different policy measures or scenarios. It was concluded that Scenario 2, which proposes reducing energy and electricity consumption, was the most preferable option, and Scenario 4, which proposes increasing the contribution of short rotation coppice (SRC), the least preferable option. This suggests that absolute reduction and demand management should be prioritised over renewables substitution in a policy hierarchy. Of the renewable energy scenarios, Scenario 4 has the highest EF as a result of land appropriation for biomass production.
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