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


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


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 0.2Â kg per kWh produced (compared with 0.54Â 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 0.56Â 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Foidart, F. & Oliver-Solá, J. & Gasol, C.M. & Gabarrell, X. & Rieradevall, J., 2010. "How important are current energy mix choices on future sustainability? Case study: Belgium and Spain--projections towards 2020-2030," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5028-5037, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:9:p:5028-5037

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Hui Dai & Jamal Mamkhezri & Noman Arshed & Anam Javaid & Sultan Salem & Yousaf Ali Khan, 2022. "Role of Energy Mix in Determining Climate Change Vulnerability in G7 Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-15, February.
    3. Bonou, Alexandra & Laurent, Alexis & Olsen, Stig I., 2016. "Life cycle assessment of onshore and offshore wind energy-from theory to application," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 327-337.
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    5. Vega-Coloma, Mabel & Zaror, Claudio A., 2018. "Environmental impact profile of electricity generation in Chile: A baseline study over two decades," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 154-167.
    6. Vázquez-Rowe, Ian & Reyna, Janet L. & García-Torres, Samy & Kahhat, Ramzy, 2015. "Is climate change-centrism an optimal policy making strategy to set national electricity mixes?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 108-116.

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