Publications / Research Papers
Environmental assessment of future electricity mix – Linking an hourly economic model with LCAJournal of Cleaner Production - scholarly articlesPublished: 1 of May, 2020

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an increasingly widespread method for the environmental accounting of products and services. Since almost all production processes use grid electricity, the environmental impact of power generation plays a key role in LCA. In this paper, a method is presented for linking a detailed economic model and life cycle assessment to evaluate both intra-annual and long-term variation in the environmental impact of grid electricity. The model is applied for the case study of Hungary for three future scenarios. Our results show that in the next 30 years, 87% reduction is expected in the Global Warming Potential compared to 2018 in the Hungarian electricity mix if the decarbonisation of the grid is fulfilled. The effect of intra-annual variation is relatively low in the current fossil-based electricity market, but its significance is expected to increase in the future with a change in the coefficient of variation to 77% from 10% by 2050. The results indicate that dynamic modelling of electricity taking into account variation due to cross-border trading and renewable penetration will influence the LCA results for products depending on their lifetime and pattern of electricity use.

The analysis is available: Science Direct

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