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A Prospective Net Energy and Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of the UK Electricity Grid

Author

Listed:
  • Marco Raugei

    () (School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Oxford Brookes University, Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1HX, UK
    The Faraday Institution, Didcot OX11 0RA, UK)

  • Mashael Kamran

    () (School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Oxford Brookes University, Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1HX, UK
    The Faraday Institution, Didcot OX11 0RA, UK)

  • Allan Hutchinson

    () (School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, Oxford Brookes University, Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1HX, UK
    The Faraday Institution, Didcot OX11 0RA, UK)

Abstract

National Grid, the UK’s largest utility company, has produced a number of energy transition scenarios, among which “2 degrees” is the most aggressive in terms of decarbonization. This paper presents the results of a combined prospective net energy and environmental life cycle assessment of the UK electricity grid, based on such a scenario. The main findings are that the strategy is effective at drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions (albeit to a reduced degree with respect to the projected share of “zero carbon” generation taken at face value), but it entails a trade-off in terms of depletion of metal resources. The grid’s potential toxicity impacts are also expected to remain substantially undiminished with respect to the present. Overall, the analysis indicates that the “2 degrees” scenario is environmentally sound and that it even leads to a modest increase in the net energy delivered to society by the grid (after accounting for the energy investments required to deploy all technologies).

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Raugei & Mashael Kamran & Allan Hutchinson, 2020. "A Prospective Net Energy and Environmental Life-Cycle Assessment of the UK Electricity Grid," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(9), pages 1-1, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jeners:v:13:y:2020:i:9:p:2207-:d:353395
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    LCA; EROI; net energy; energy scenario; energy transition; electricity; grid mix; storage; decarbonization;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q47 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy Forecasting
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q49 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Other

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