TITLE

Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Generation: A Comparative Analysis of Australian Energy Sources

AUTHOR(S)
Hardisty, Paul E.; Clark, Tom S.; Hynes, Robert G.
PUB. DATE
April 2012
SOURCE
Energies (19961073);Apr2012, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p872
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Electricity generation is one of the major contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning the World's energy economy to a lower carbon future will require significant investment in a variety of cleaner technologies, including renewables and nuclear power. In the short term, improving the efficiency of fossil fuel combustion in energy generation can provide an important contribution. Availability of life cycle GHG intensity data will allow decision-makers to move away from overly simplistic assertions about the relative merits of certain fuels, and focus on the complete picture, especially the critical roles of technology selection and application of best practice. This analysis compares the life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) intensities per megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity produced for a range of Australian and other energy sources, including coal, conventional liquefied natural gas (LNG), coal seam gas LNG, nuclear and renewables, for the Australian export market. When Australian fossil fuels are exported to China, life cycle greenhouse gas emission intensity in electricity production depends to a significant degree on the technology used in combustion. LNG in general is less GHG intensive than black coal, but the gap is smaller for gas combusted in open cycle gas turbine plant (OCGT) and for LNG derived from coal seam gas (CSG). On average, conventional LNG burned in a conventional OCGT plant is approximately 38% less GHG intensive over its life cycle than black coal burned in a sub-critical plant, per MWh of electricity produced. However, if OCGT LNG combustion is compared to the most efficient new ultra-supercritical coal power, the GHG intensity gap narrows considerably. Coal seam gas LNG is approximately 13--20% more GHG intensive across its life cycle, on a like-for like basis, than conventional LNG. Upstream fugitive emissions from CSG (assuming best practice gas extraction techniques) do not materially alter the life cycle GHG intensity rankings, such is the dominance of end-use combustion, but application of the most recent estimates of the 20-year global warming potential (GWP) increases the contribution of fugitives considerably if best practice fugitives management is not assumed. However, if methane leakage approaches the elevated levels recently reported in some US gas fields (circa 4% of gas production) and assuming a 20-year methane GWP, the GHG intensity of CSG-LNG generation is on a par with sub-critical coal-fired generation. The importance of applying best practice to fugitives management in Australia's emerging natural gas industry is evident. When exported to China for electricity production, LNG was found to be 22--36 times more GHG intensive than wind and concentrated solar thermal (CST) power and 13--21 times more GHG intensive than nuclear power which, even in the post-Fukushima world, continues to be a key option for global GHG reduction.
ACCESSION #
85002853

 

Related Articles

  • HOT TOPIC: GLOBAL WARMING.  // Dolly;Feb2007, Issue 436, p52 

    The article focuses on global warming. The Federal Government is proposing the use of nuclear power as a solution for the issue. It is claimed that nuclear energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists prefer clean, renewable energy, such as solar and wind as a solution. Other...

  • ASSESSING INBOUND TOURISM CONSIDERING GHG EMISSIONS AND RENEWABLE ENERGIES (THE CASE OF ROMANIA). Surugiu, Camelia; Breda, Zelia; Surugiu, Marius-Razvan // Actual Problems of Economics / Aktual'ni Problemi Ekonomìki;Nov2012, Vol. 137 Issue 11, p467 

    This paper investigates the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and renewable energies on Romanian inbound tourism along with other economic, social and geographical variables, such as bilateral trade, population, distance and education. It aims to stress the need of respecting green...

  • Carbon cuts too slow, warns committee. Milne, Roger // Utility Week;7/8/2011, Vol. 34 Issue 26, p4 

    The article reports that the Committee on Climate Change in Great Britain has stated that government must increase the pace of investment in renewable energy and achieve cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases for the country to meet its legally binding carbon targets.

  • There are brighter ideas than nuclear. Palgrave, Robert // Utility Week;4/20/2007, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p13 

    The author stresses that there are other energy sources better than nuclear. He questions the reliability of nuclear power. He argues that nuclear power is a major source of carbon emissions. He cites the bad scores of nuclear power compared to renewables in terms of energy security and...

  • The Bull's-Eye on Our Back. Totten, Michael // Solar Today;Sep/Oct2008, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p26 

    The article discusses considerations on new power plants constructions of the U.S. government, focusing on its implications on the war against Iran and the policy of the U.S. politicians. It argues that with warming war of the U.S. government against the offensive Iran, new nuclear power plants...

  • Kyoto protocol: do as we say, not as they do.  // MarketWatch: Global Round-up;Apr2005, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p151 

    The article talks about the implementation of the Kyoto agreement in households and businesses in European Union countries. The agreement is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All the participating countries will be allowed to either maintain emissions or increase them. The Kyoto...

  • Kurz zum Klima: Die grüne Förderlandschaft Europa. Dieler, Julian; Lippelt, Jana // ifo Schnelldienst;3/30/2012, Vol. 65 Issue 6, p34 

    No abstract available.

  • Terrestrial carbon management and electric utilities Trexler, Mark C.; Kinsman, John D. // Water, Air & Soil Pollution;Oct1993, Vol. 70 Issue 1-4, p545 

    No abstract available.

  • Assessing Taiwan's energy security under climate change. Lin, Shih-Mo; Feng, Jun-Chiang; Ko, Fu-Kuang // Natural Hazards;Aug2012, Vol. 62 Issue 1, p3 

    This paper intends to assess Taiwan's energy security situation under current and future development of global environment. We construct a static computable general equilibrium model for Taiwan to fulfill our purpose. The model is benchmarked in 2006 and includes detailed specification of power...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics