Friday, December 08, 2017

Solar, Wind and Nuclear Have ‘Amazingly Low’ Carbon Footprints, Study Finds

 Technicians arranging solar cells to form solar panel on factory production line, South Africa. (Credit: Juice Images/Alamy Stock Photo) Click to Enlarge.
Building solar, wind or nuclear plants creates an insignificant carbon footprint compared with savings from avoiding fossil fuels, a new study suggests.

The research, published in Nature Energy, measures the full lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of a range of sources of electricity out to 2050.  It shows that the carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS).  This remains true after accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply.

“There was a concern that it is a lot harder than suggested by energy scenario models to achieve climate targets, because of the energy required to produce wind turbines and solar panels and associated emissions,” explains project leader Dr Gunnar Luderer, who is an energy system analyst at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK).

Luderer tells Carbon Brief:  “The most important finding [of our research] was that the expansion of wind and solar power…comes with life-cycle emissions that are much smaller than the remaining emissions from existing fossil power plants, before they can finally be decommissioned.”

Read more at Solar, Wind and Nuclear Have ‘Amazingly Low’ Carbon Footprints, Study Finds

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