Are the aims of increasing the share of green electricity generation and reducing GHG emissions always compatible?

Publication year: 2011
Source: Renewable Energy, Volume 36, Issue 11, November 2011, Pages 3031-3036

Ali, El Hanandeh , Abbas, El Zein

Energy from waste (EfW) has been identified as a source of ‘green electricity’ and has been used as a way of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Nevertheless, selecting an EfW strategy for municipal solid waste management is a challenging task not least because of the uncertainty involved in quantifying the potential economic and environmental impacts. This paper analyses five alternatives for managing the municipal solid waste of Sydney for their ‘green electricity’ and GHG savings potential under conditions of uncertainty. The impact of paper recycling on the ranking of alternatives was investigated, too. Our analysis shows that maximizing EfW generation…

 Highlights: ► Greenhouse gas reduction through energy from waste is investigated using LCA. ► Max ‘green electricity’ generation does not always correspond to max GHG savings. ► Total energy savings is a better measure of GHG savings. ► The philosophy behind setting ‘green electricity’ target should be transparent.