[4] Portugal-Pereira, J; Köberle, A.; Soria, R; Lucena, A.; Szklo, A; Schaeffer, R (2016) “Overlooked impacts of electricity expansion optimisation modelling: The life cycle side of the story”, Energy, Volume 115, 1424-1435


This work evaluates implications of incorporating LCA-GHG (life cycle assessment of GHG emissions) into the optimisation of the power generation mix of Brazil through 2050, under baseline and low-carbon scenarios. Furthermore, this work assesses the impacts of enacting a tax on LCA-GHG emissions as a strategy to mitigate climate change. To this end, a model that integrates regional life cycle data with optimised energy scenarios was developed using the MESSAGE-Brazil integrated model. Following a baseline trend, the power sector in Brazil would increasingly rely on conventional coal technologies. GHG emissions from the power sector in 2050 are expected to increase 15-fold. When enacting a tax on direct-carbon emissions, advanced coal and onshore wind technologies become competitive. GHG emissions peak at 2025 and decrease afterwards, reaching an emission level 40% lower in 2050 than that of 2010. However, if impacts were evaluated through the entire life cycle of power supply systems, LCA-GHG emissions would be 50% higher in 2050 than in 2010. This is due to loads associated with the construction of plant infrastructures and extraction and processing of fossil fuel resources. Thus, taxes might not be as effective in tackling GHG emissions as shown by past studies, if they are only applied to direct emissions.

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