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Energies 2013, 6(7), 3182-3208; doi:10.3390/en6073182
Article

Modeling Future Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Environmental Impacts of Electricity Supplies in Brazil

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1 Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, 3700 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA 2 Programa de Planejamento Energético, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Tecnologia, Bloco C, Sala 211, Cidade Universitária, Ilha do Fundão, Rio de Janeiro 21941-972, Brazil 3 Departamento de Engenharia Elétrica, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rua Passo da Pátria, Bloco D, Sala 509, São Domingos, Niteroi 24210-240, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 April 2013 / Revised: 13 June 2013 / Accepted: 25 June 2013 / Published: 2 July 2013
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Abstract

Brazil’s status as a rapidly developing country is visible in its need for more energy, including electricity. While the current electricity generation mix is primarily hydropower based, high-quality dam sites are diminishing and diversification to other sources is likely. We combined life-cycle data for electricity production with scenarios developed using the IAEA’s MESSAGE model to examine environmental impacts of future electricity generation under a baseline case and four side cases, using a Monte-Carlo approach to incorporate uncertainty in power plant performance and LCA impacts. Our results show that, under the cost-optimal base case scenario, Brazil’s GHGs from electricity (excluding hydroelectric reservoir emissions) rise 370% by 2040 relative to 2010, with the carbon intensity per MWh rising 100%. This rise would make Brazil’s carbon emissions targets difficult to meet without demand-side programs. Our results show a future electricity mix dominated by environmental tradeoffs in the use of large-scale renewables, questioning the use tropical hydropower and highlighting the need for additional work to assess and include ecosystem and social impacts, where information is currently sparse.
Keywords: life-cycle assessment (LCA); scenarios; Brazil; energy; climate change; Monte-Carlo analysis (MCA) life-cycle assessment (LCA); scenarios; Brazil; energy; climate change; Monte-Carlo analysis (MCA)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Dale, A.T.; Pereira de Lucena, A.F.; Marriott, J.; Borba, B.S.M.C.; Schaeffer, R.; Bilec, M.M. Modeling Future Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Environmental Impacts of Electricity Supplies in Brazil. Energies 2013, 6, 3182-3208.

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