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Energies 2017, 10(7), 861;

Do We Need Gas as a Bridging Fuel? A Case Study of the Electricity System of Switzerland

Climate Policy Group, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Universitätstrasse 22, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Electrical Power and Energy System)
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Many future electricity scenarios, including those from the International Energy Agency, use natural gas to bridge the transition to renewables, in particular as a means of balancing intermittent generation from new renewables. Given that such strategies may be inconsistent with strategies to limit climate change to below 2 °C, we address the question of whether such use of gas is necessary or cost effective. We conduct a techno-economic case study of Switzerland, using a cost optimization model. We explore a range of electricity costs, comparing scenarios in which gas is used as a source of base-load power, a source of balancing capacity, and not used at all. Costs at the high end of the range show that a complete decarbonization increases system-wide costs by 3% compared to a gas bridging scenario, and 13–46% compared to a carbon-intensive scenario, depending on the relative shares of solar and wind. Costs at the low end of the range show that system-wide costs are equal or lower for both completely decarbonized and gas bridging scenarios. In conclusion, gas delivers little to no cost savings as a bridging fuel in a system that switches to wind and solar. View Full-Text
Keywords: concentrating solar power; wind offshore; cost projections; decarbonization; Switzerland concentrating solar power; wind offshore; cost projections; decarbonization; Switzerland

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Díaz, P.; van Vliet, O.; Patt, A. Do We Need Gas as a Bridging Fuel? A Case Study of the Electricity System of Switzerland. Energies 2017, 10, 861.

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