ECN publication
CO2 abatement in Western European power generation
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 1997
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-C--97-053 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
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The potential role of power generation technologies in the future WesternEuropean energy system is analysed. Various levels of CO2 emission abatement and a range of other scenario conditions are considered. The study aims mostly at the identification of technological directions and less at instruments and policies to implement technologies. A wide range of energy technologies has been considered, and the possible role of these technologies has been assessed for each scenario and for each variant. First, the potential role of power generation options under circumstances without a carbon tax is analysed. Next, scenario runs with various carbon tax levels are analysed. In the absence of carbon taxes gas- and coal-fired power are the main options, with a competitive edge for gas-fired power in the first decades of the next century, and the opposite in the remaining decades. Only a few renewables other than hydro could become competitive, such as biomass-fueled power and wind turbines. In case of moderate carbon taxes, gas-fired power would become the power generation option of choice, and coal-fired power would loose its market share. However, highly efficient coal-fired power technology would remain economically viable. Nuclear power would be competitive under such circumstances, just like hydroelectric power. Of course, the development of nuclear power depends on public acceptance. The scope for 'new' renewables is expanded under conditions of moderate carbon taxes. A strategy for moderate CO2 reduction would require an RD&D portfolio based on highly efficient fuel conversion technologies and renewables (wind energy, biomass fueled power, photovoltaic power). In case of more stringent carbon taxes (100 ECU/ton CO2) coal fired power would be phased out rapidly. Nuclear and hydro-power would be still more economic than under moderate carbon taxes. Biomass-fueled power, on-shore and off-shore wind energy, and solar power in southern Europe would be introduced on a large scale. A strategy for stringent CO2 reduction would require an RD&D portfolio based on highly efficient conversion technologies for natural gas, as well as a number of renewables, including photovoltaic power and off-shore wind energy. 29 figs., 30 tabs., 29 refs.

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