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Energies 2016, 9(12), 1086; doi:10.3390/en9121086

Systematic Assessment of Carbon Emissions from Renewable Energy Access to Improve Rural Livelihoods

1
Department of Environmental Policy, CEP Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
2
Departmento de Energía y Tecnologías Ambientales, Universidad Central de Las Villas, Santa Clara, Cuba
3
Department of Materials & Centre for Plastic Electronics, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
4
Departamento de Electrónica, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Campus Muralla del Mar, 30202 Cartagena, Spain
5
Facultad de Ciencias Administrativas y Económicas, Universidad Icesi, Calle 18 No. 122-135, 760042 Cali, Colombia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Senthilarasu Sundaram
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 4 December 2016 / Accepted: 8 December 2016 / Published: 19 December 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [730 KB, uploaded 21 December 2016]   |  

Abstract

One way of increasing access to electricity for impoverished unconnected areas without adding significant amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere is by promoting renewable energy technologies. However, decision-makers rarely, if ever, take into account the level of in-built energy requirements and consequential CO2 emissions found in renewable energy, particularly photovoltaic cells and related equipment, which have been widely disseminated in developing countries. The deployment of solar panels worldwide has mostly relied on silicon crystalline cell modules, despite the fact that less polluting material—in particular, thin film and organic cells—offers comparatively distinct technical, environmental and cost advantages characteristics. A major scientific challenge has thus been the design of a single decision-making approach to assess local and global climate change-related impacts as well as the socio-economic effects of low-carbon technology. The article focuses on the functions of the multi-criteria-based tool SURE-DSS and environmental impact analysis focused on greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions balance to inform the selection of technologies in terms of their impact on livelihoods and CO2eq. emissions. An application in a remote rural community in Cuba is discussed. The results of this study show that while PV silicon (c-Si), thin film (CdTe) and organic solar cells may each equally meet the demands of the community and enhance people’s livelihoods, their effect on the global environment varies. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaic technologies; multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA); life-cycle analysis (LCA); rural energy and development; SURE-DSS photovoltaic technologies; multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA); life-cycle analysis (LCA); rural energy and development; SURE-DSS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cherni, J.A.; Olalde Font, R.; Serrano, L.; Henao, F.; Urbina, A. Systematic Assessment of Carbon Emissions from Renewable Energy Access to Improve Rural Livelihoods. Energies 2016, 9, 1086.

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