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Special Issue "Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Chih-Chun Kung

Institute of Poyang Lake Eco-economics at Jiangxi University of Finance and Economics, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: renewable energy; lifecycle analysis
Guest Editor
Prof. Bruce A. McCarl

Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: resource, agricultural and forestry policy; sector modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is evidence that climate change has resulted in many undesirable consequences, such as ocean level rise, desertification, and increased possibility of extreme events. Meanwhile, fossil fuels are considered as the main driver of climate change plus it can be depleted; thus, it is desirable that we find, develop, and promote renewable energy sources that both maintain the environment and provide sustainable energy. However, renewable energy is in many cases costlier than fossil fuels. In order to justify renewable fuel expansion, their full value must be recognized and, thus, their economic and environmental benefits must be comprehensively analyzed in terms of climate change mitigation, energy security, social development, and wealth distribution. In addition, it is also crucial to understand how government policies may affect the future for renewables and other energy forms. The aim of this Special Issue is to explore, document, investigate the full benefits and future prospects for renewable energy sources today and in a future with an expanding amount of climate change.

This Special Issue on “Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change” encourages a diverse set of submissions.

Topics include:

  • Comprehensive analysis of the economic and environmental consequences of renewable energy.
  • Policy analysis of green energy development under climate change.
  • Enhancement of energy security from domestically produced renewable energy.
  • Lifecycle analysis on large scale renewable energy utilization.
  • Relation between green energy development and changes on social welfare.
  • Innovations in renewable energy technology and their future influence.
  • New analytical and modeling frameworks regarding renewable energy development and its future are particularly welcomed.

Prof. Chih-Chun Kung
Prof. Bruce A. McCarl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Clean energy
  • climate change mitigation
  • quantitative analysis
  • sustainable development

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Methodological Issues Regarding Biofuels and Carbon Uptake
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1581; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051581
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 15 May 2018
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Abstract
Questions regarding the net effect of biofuels on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been difficult to resolve because of methodological uncertainties. One method of choice is lifecycle assessment (LCA), which takes a fuel product system as its object of analysis. LCA
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Questions regarding the net effect of biofuels on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been difficult to resolve because of methodological uncertainties. One method of choice is lifecycle assessment (LCA), which takes a fuel product system as its object of analysis. LCA uses a static system model, with carbon flows averaged over a defined “lifecycle”. Although it may evaluate some carbon stock changes, the LCA convention of treating biogenic CO2 emissions as fully offset by the carbon embodied in a biofuel’s feedstock renders its results independent of the dominant portion of carbon uptake on the land from which the feedstock is sourced. An application of material flow analysis termed annual basis carbon (ABC) accounting captures system dynamics and is fully sensitive to changes in carbon uptake. This paper compares the LCA and ABC methods, and contrasts their respective results for a case study of real-world biofuel production. It highlights the large impact of baseline carbon uptake, which can affect the sign of the results from either a likely decrease or a likely increase in net CO2 emissions even before considering economically-induced effects. Implications include the need for further methodological work, new program-scale model development, an empirical re-analysis of biofuel systems, and a reconsideration of existing public policies and research priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Security-Constrained Unit Commitment Considering Differentiated Regional Air Pollutant Intensity
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1433; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051433
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 28 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
Conventional environmental-economic power dispatch methods constrain the total amount of emissions of power plants, and they succeed in reducing emissions from the power sector. However, they fail to address the mismatch between emission reductions and the resulting changes in regional air quality. This
[...] Read more.
Conventional environmental-economic power dispatch methods constrain the total amount of emissions of power plants, and they succeed in reducing emissions from the power sector. However, they fail to address the mismatch between emission reductions and the resulting changes in regional air quality. This paper proposes an ecology- and security-constrained unit commitment (Eco-SCUC) model considering the differentiated impacts of generation-associated emissions on regional air quality. A Gaussian puff dispersion model is applied to capture the temporal-spatial transport of air pollutants. Additionally, an air pollutant intensity (API) index is defined for assessing the impacts of emissions on the air quality in regions with differentiated atmospheric environmental capacities. Then the API constraints are formulated based on air quality forecast and included in SCUC model. Moreover, the stochastic optimization is employed to accommodate wind power uncertainty, and the Benders decomposition technique is used to solve the formulated mixed-integer quadratic programming (MIQP) problem. Case studies demonstrate that the Eco-SCUC can cost-effectively improve air quality for densely-populated regions via shifting generation among units and can significantly reduce the person-hours exposed to severe air pollution. Furthermore, the benefits of wind power for air quality control are investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle A Numerical Study of the Temperature Reduction by Water Spray Systems within Urban Street Canyons
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041190
Received: 24 February 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 15 April 2018
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Abstract
To reduce energy demand (both fossil fuel and renewable energy) for cooling the urban heat island environment, some solutions have been studied. Among these methods, the water spray system is considered more flexible due to its dynamic controls. This study investigated the cooling
[...] Read more.
To reduce energy demand (both fossil fuel and renewable energy) for cooling the urban heat island environment, some solutions have been studied. Among these methods, the water spray system is considered more flexible due to its dynamic controls. This study investigated the cooling effect of water spray systems in the street canyon under different aspect ratios and high relative humidity environments using a computational fluid dynamics model. This model was validated with water channel and wind tunnel experiments. The results showed that the most effective cooling area was the area just under the spray nozzles. However, in a narrow street canyon, people in the middle of the street may feel the cooling effect because of the dispersion and accumulation of the cooled air. Our simulations demonstrated that air under the nozzles was saturated and this revealed that under drier conditions the water spray systems will have higher cooling performance. We also found that using large water droplets created a wider cooling area in the middle of the street canyon, and this phenomenon was not changed much if the nozzle height was increased from 2.5 m to 3.5 m. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Design Performance by Alliance between Contractors and Designers in International Hydropower EPC Projects from the Perspective of Chinese Construction Companies
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041171
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 10 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
Extant literature lacks a systematic framework addressing the mechanisms of the alliance functional process and its impacts on management activities together with performance in delivering Engineering–procurement–construction (EPC) projects. This study quantitatively investigates the cause–effect relationships among these themes by building and validating a
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Extant literature lacks a systematic framework addressing the mechanisms of the alliance functional process and its impacts on management activities together with performance in delivering Engineering–procurement–construction (EPC) projects. This study quantitatively investigates the cause–effect relationships among these themes by building and validating a conceptual model of contractor–designer alliance in international hydropower EPC projects. With the support of data collected from an industry survey, the results reveal the key design problems, application of contractor–designer alliance, design management level and performance, which form a sound basis for design management emphasis in EPC activities, e.g., sufficiently considering sustainability of hydropower projects by incorporating environmental, social, and economic factors into designs. The path analysis indicates that the contractor–designer alliance can not only improve design performance by enhancing design management, but also directly promote design performance. This research has significant contributions to the body of knowledge by building interdisciplinary linkages between the areas of alliance, design management, and performance, theoretically demonstrating the mechanism of how interfirm cooperation functions to achieve superior design outcomes of hydropower EPC projects. Understanding these causal relationships will be crucial for contractors and designers to optimally allocate their complementary resources for seeking better design solutions in dealing with both technical issues and sustainability factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Forecasting Renewable Energy Consumption under Zero Assumptions
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030576
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3804 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Renewable energy, as an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of energy, is key to realizing the nationally determined contributions of the United States (US) to the December 2015 Paris agreement. Policymakers in the US rely on energy forecasts to draft and implement cost-minimizing,
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Renewable energy, as an environmentally friendly and sustainable source of energy, is key to realizing the nationally determined contributions of the United States (US) to the December 2015 Paris agreement. Policymakers in the US rely on energy forecasts to draft and implement cost-minimizing, efficient and realistic renewable and sustainable energy policies but the inaccuracies in past projections are considerably high. The inaccuracies and inconsistencies in forecasts are due to the numerous factors considered, massive assumptions and modeling flaws in the underlying model. Here, we propose and apply a machine learning forecasting algorithm devoid of massive independent variables and assumptions to model and forecast renewable energy consumption (REC) in the US. We employ the forecasting technique to make projections on REC from biomass (REC-BMs) and hydroelectric (HE-EC) sources for the 2009–2016 period. We find that, relative to reference case projections in Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2008, projections based on our proposed technique present an enormous improvement up to ~138.26-fold on REC-BMs and ~24.67-fold on HE-EC; and that applying our technique saves the US ~2692.62PJ petajoules(PJ) on HE-EC and ~9695.09PJ on REC-BMs for the 8-year forecast period. The achieved high-accuracy is also replicable to other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle LMDI Decomposition of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Based on Energy and CO2 Allocation Sankey Diagrams: The Method and an Application to China
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020344
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5060 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This manuscript develops a logarithmic mean Divisia index I (LMDI) decomposition method based on energy and CO2 allocation Sankey diagrams to analyze the contributions of various influencing factors to the growth of energy-related CO2 emissions on a national level. Compared with
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This manuscript develops a logarithmic mean Divisia index I (LMDI) decomposition method based on energy and CO2 allocation Sankey diagrams to analyze the contributions of various influencing factors to the growth of energy-related CO2 emissions on a national level. Compared with previous methods, we can further consider the influences of energy supply efficiency. Two key parameters, the primary energy quantity converted factor (KPEQ) and the primary carbon dioxide emission factor (KC), were introduced to calculate the equilibrium data for the whole process of energy unitization and related CO2 emissions. The data were used to map energy and CO2 allocation Sankey diagrams. Based on these parameters, we built an LMDI method with a higher technical resolution and applied it to decompose the growth of energy-related CO2 emissions in China from 2004 to 2014. The results indicate that GDP growth per capita is the main factor driving the growth of CO2 emissions while the reduction of energy intensity, the improvement of energy supply efficiency, and the introduction of non-fossil fuels in heat and electricity generation slowed the growth of CO2 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Cooling Energy Implications of Occupant Factor in Buildings under Climate Change
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2039; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112039
Received: 24 October 2017 / Revised: 5 November 2017 / Accepted: 6 November 2017 / Published: 7 November 2017
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Abstract
Occupant factor is a critical element in the overall energy consumption of buildings. This study aims to reveal how occupant factors influence the energy consumption of example buildings in Seoul, Tokyo, and Hong Kong under climate change projections, and to prioritize factors with
[...] Read more.
Occupant factor is a critical element in the overall energy consumption of buildings. This study aims to reveal how occupant factors influence the energy consumption of example buildings in Seoul, Tokyo, and Hong Kong under climate change projections, and to prioritize factors with energy saving potential for buildings in consideration of future climate change. The study finds that the cooling degree-hours base of 23.3 °C in the three cities sharply increases with future climate change by analyzing future hourly weather data produced herein. Simulations are made with EnergyPlus Runtime Language (Erl) for modeling occupant behavior. The simulation results reveal that a dynamic thermostat control based on an adaptive comfort model is an effective method to reduce cooling energy consumption under future climate change, reducing cooling energy consumption by up to 18% in some instances. In particular, we reveal that a combined application of the adaptive comfort control, nighttime ventilation, and the use of occupancy-based lighting and equipment result in reducing cooling energy consumption by 28%. The outcomes of this study are potentially useful in providing cost-effective solutions to adapt buildings for future climate change with simple modifications to occupant behavior. Also, the roles of renewable energy are briefly discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Trade-Offs between Economic and Environmental Optimization of the Forest Biomass Generation Supply Chain in Inner Mongolia, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112030
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 25 October 2017 / Accepted: 27 October 2017 / Published: 6 November 2017
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Abstract
The utilization of forest residue to produce forest biomass energy can mitigate CO2 emissions and generate additional revenue for related eco-enterprises and farmers. In China, however, the benefit of this utilization is still in question because of high costs and CO2
[...] Read more.
The utilization of forest residue to produce forest biomass energy can mitigate CO2 emissions and generate additional revenue for related eco-enterprises and farmers. In China, however, the benefit of this utilization is still in question because of high costs and CO2 emissions in the entire supply chain. In this paper, a multi-objective linear programming model (MLP) is employed to analyze the trade-offs between the economic and environmental benefits of all nodes within the forest biomass power generation supply chain. The MLP model is tested in the Mao Wu Su biomass Thermoelectric Company. The optimization results show that (1) the total cost and CO2 emissions are decreased by US$98.4 thousand and 60.6 thousand kg, respectively; 3750 thousand kg of waste-wood products is reduced and 3750 thousand kg of sandy shrub stubble residue is increased; (2) 64% of chipped sandy shrub residue is transported directly from the forestland to the power plant, 36% of non-chipped sandy shrub residue is transported from the forestland to the power plant via the chipping plant; (3) transportation and chipping play a significant role in the supply chain; and (4) the results of a sensitivity analysis show that the farmer’s average transportation distance should be 84.13 km and unit chipping cost should be $0.01022 thousand for the optimization supply cost and CO2 emissions. Finally, we suggest the following: (1) develop long-term cooperation with farmers; (2) buy chain-saws for regularly used farmers; (3) build several chipping plants in areas that are rich in sandy shrub. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Performance of Industrial Green Development Using a Non-Radial Directional Distance Function Approach: A Case Study of Jiangxi Province in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101757
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 27 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
The industrial sector is a major contributor to resource consumption and environmental pollution in China. The energy-intensive industrial development and energy structure are dominated by coal, which has produced an enormous amount of industrial pollutants in China, and put great pressure on the
[...] Read more.
The industrial sector is a major contributor to resource consumption and environmental pollution in China. The energy-intensive industrial development and energy structure are dominated by coal, which has produced an enormous amount of industrial pollutants in China, and put great pressure on the ecological environment. Hence, improving the performance of industrial green development (PIGD) has become an urgent task of utmost importance. This study applies a global non-radial directional distance function to estimate the PIGD for Jiangxi Province during 2003–2015, and provides targeted policy suggestions. The empirical results show a rising trend in the PIGD in Jiangxi Province. At the city level, Nanchang and Fuzhou performed considerably better than other cities in regards to their PIGD. However, the poor environmental performance caused by the excessive discharge of industrial pollutants has also hindered its PIGD. Most cities in Jiangxi Province failed to efficiently use resources, especially energy and labor, in industrial production. The results of the influencing factor analysis show that the performance of industrial green development in Jiangxi could be improved through increasing per capita GDP, decreasing the share of coal consumption in the total industrial energy consumption, and decreasing the share of industrial GDP in the total GDP. Furthermore, a more efficient use of environmental management investment funds and timely transfer of the surplus industrial labor are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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Review

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Open AccessReview An Original Approach Combining CFD, Linearized Models, and Deformation of Trees for Urban Wind Power Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061915
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
Wind energy is relevant to self-sufficiency in urban areas, but the accuracy of wind assessment is a barrier to allowing wind energy development. The aim of this work is to test the performance of the Griggs-Putnam Index of Deformity of trees (G-PID) over
[...] Read more.
Wind energy is relevant to self-sufficiency in urban areas, but the accuracy of wind assessment is a barrier to allowing wind energy development. The aim of this work is to test the performance of the Griggs-Putnam Index of Deformity of trees (G-PID) over urban areas as an alternative method for assessing wind conditions. G-PID has been widely used in open terrains, but this work is the first attempt to apply it in urban areas. The results were compared with CFD simulations (ENVI-met), and finally, with the linear model WAsP to inspect if deformed trees can offer acceptable wind power assessments. WAsP (meso-) and ENVI-met (micrometeorological model) showed similar results in a test area inside the University of Lisbon Campus. All trees showed a deformation with the wind direction (S and SE). The mean G-PID wind speed for all trees was 5.9 m/s. Comparing this to the ENVI-met simulations results (mean speed for all trees was 4.25 m/s) made it necessary to adapt the index to urban terrains by reducing each Index Deformation class by about ~2 m/s. Nevertheless, more investigation is needed, since this study is just a first approach to this integrated methodology. Also, tree species and characteristics were not taken into account. These questions should be addressed in future studies, because the deformation of trees depends also on the tree species and phytosanitary conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Energy Development under Climate Change)
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