Special Issue "Locally Available Energy Sources and Sustainability"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Antonio Colmenar Santos
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Guest Editor
Department of Electrical, Electronic, Control, Telematics and Chemical Engineering Applied to Engineering, Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers, National University of Distance Education, Juan del Rosal, 12 Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: power electronics; distribution generation; active distribution networks
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. David Borge Diez
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Energy Resources' Smart Management (ERESMA) Research Group, Department Area of Electrical Engineering, School of Mines Engineering, University of Léon, 24071 Leon, Spain
Interests: energy efficiency; energy economics; renewable energy; energy simulation; energy optimization
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Enrique Rosales Asensio
Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Renewable energy is electricity generated by fuel sources that restore themselves over a short period of time and do not diminish. Although some renewable energy technologies have an impact on the environment, renewables are considered environmentally preferable to conventional sources and, when replacing fossil fuels, have significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This Special Issue will focus on the environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy, which includes: (i) Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution; (ii) diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels; and (iii) creating economic development and jobs in manufacturing, installation, and more.

Local governments can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing or directly generating electricity from clean, renewable sources.

The most common renewable power technologies include:

  • Solar (photovoltaic, solar thermal);
  • Wind;
  • Biogas (e.g., landfill gas/wastewater treatment digester gas);
  • Geothermal;
  • Biomass;
  • Low-impact hydroelectricity;
  • Emerging technologies—wave and tidal power.

Local governments can lead by example by generating energy on site, purchasing green power, or purchasing renewable energy. Using a combination of renewable energy options can help to meet local government goals, especially in some regions where availability and quality of renewable resources vary.

Options for using renewable energy include:

  • Generating renewable energy on site, using a system or device at the location where the power is used (e.g., PV panels on a state building, geothermal heat pumps, biomass-fuelled combined heat and power);
  • Purchasing renewable energy from an electric utility through a green pricing or green marketing program, where buyers pay a small premium in exchange for electricity generated locally from green power resources.

This Special Issue will focus on the environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy, which includes:

  • Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution;
  • Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels;
  • Creating economic development and jobs in manufacturing, installation, and more.

Prof. Dr. Antonio Colmenar-Santos
Prof. Dr. David Borge Diez
Dr. Enrique Rosales-Asensio
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • local renewable energy
  • carbon footprint
  • local government goals
  • economic development

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Renewable Energy Prosumers in Mediterranean Viticulture Social–Ecological Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6781; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236781 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
The significant energy demands of wine production pose both a challenge and an opportunity for adopting a low-carbon, more sustainable and potentially less expensive energy model. Nevertheless, the (dis)incentives for the wider adoption of local production and self-consumption of energy (also known as [...] Read more.
The significant energy demands of wine production pose both a challenge and an opportunity for adopting a low-carbon, more sustainable and potentially less expensive energy model. Nevertheless, the (dis)incentives for the wider adoption of local production and self-consumption of energy (also known as “prosumerism”) from renewable energy sources (RESs) are still not sufficiently addressed, nor are the broader social–ecological benefits of introducing RES as part of a sustainable viticulture strategy. Drawing on the social–ecological systems (SESs) resilience framework, this article presents the results of a Living Lab (an action-research approach) implemented in Alentejo (South of Portugal), which is an important wine-producing Mediterranean region. The triangulation of results from the application of a multi-method approach, including quantitative and qualitative methods, provided an understanding of the constraining and enabling factors for individual and collective RES prosumer initiatives. Top enablers are related to society’s expectation for a greener wine production, but also the responsibility to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and energy costs; meanwhile, the top constraints are financial, legal and technological. The conclusions offer some policy implications and avenues for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of the Most Sustainable Renewable Energy System for Bozcaada Island: Wind vs. Photovoltaic
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4098; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154098 - 29 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Energy production without destroying the environment has been one of the most crucial issues for people living in today’s world. In order to analyze whole environmental and/or economic impacts of the energy production process, life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) [...] Read more.
Energy production without destroying the environment has been one of the most crucial issues for people living in today’s world. In order to analyze whole environmental and/or economic impacts of the energy production process, life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle cost (LCC) are widely used. In this study, two distinct renewable energy systems are assessed. First, a land-based wind farm, which has been operating in Bozcaada Island since 2000, is compared to a proposed solar photovoltaic power plant in terms of Energy Pay-Back Time (EPBT) periods and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and life cycle cost. The energy production process including the recycling phase evaluated “from cradle to grave” using GaBi software for both cases. All scenarios are compared by considering different impact categories such as global warming potential (GWP), acidification potential (AP), and eutrophication potential (EP). Following this, levelized unit cost to produce 1 MWh electricity (LUCE) is calculated for both systems. This study revealed that LCA and LCCA are useful and practical tools that help to determine drawbacks and benefits of different renewable energy systems considering their long-term environmental and economic impacts. Our findings show that onshore wind farms have a number of benefits than proposed photovoltaic power plants in terms of environmental and cost aspects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A System Dynamics Model to Assess the Effectiveness of Governmental Support Policies for Renewable Electricity
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3426; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123426 - 21 Jun 2019
Abstract
China’s support policy for renewable electricity belongs to a feed-in tariffs scheme. With the rapid development of renewable electricity industries, this set of policies brought about a heavy fiscal burden for the government. The exploration of whether current support policy provided excessive subsidies [...] Read more.
China’s support policy for renewable electricity belongs to a feed-in tariffs scheme. With the rapid development of renewable electricity industries, this set of policies brought about a heavy fiscal burden for the government. The exploration of whether current support policy provided excessive subsidies for renewable electricity is of great practical significance. We hold an idea that the internalization of positive externality is the only criterion for the government to support the development of a renewable electricity industry. The problem of whether the current policy provides excessive subsidies for renewable electricity industry can be solved by assessing whether its positive externality is internalized, as renewable electricity industry has a characteristic of externality. Our study object is an assumed biomass power plant in Jingning County, Gansu Province. A system dynamics model was built. Applying the environmental cost accounting method and net present value analysis method, we connected the techno-economic analysis of the biomass power plant with the measurement of positive externality of biomass power generation together. In this system dynamics model, we developed an indicator to reveal whether the subsidies provided by governmental policies can compensate the positive externality generated by the assumed biomass power plant. This study mainly draws the following conclusions: Firstly, China’s current support policy does provide excessive subsidies for the renewable power industry. The subsidies received by biomass power plants from the government are higher than the positive externality generated by them; secondly, the positive externality measurement of the biomass power industry is influenced by many regional factors; thirdly, without governmental policy support, biomass power plants cannot compete with traditional power companies; fourthly, as biomass power generation is concerned, the current price subsidy intensity is about US$0.0132 higher per kWh than a reasonable level. Furthermore, the parameters frequently applied in the calculation of the prices of pollutant emission reduction in Chinese research papers are relatively small, which is only half of their actual values. Jingning County, situated in inland west-northern China, lacks typicality. There is a limitation in judging whether the government’s support policy for renewable electricity is reasonable through a feasibility analysis of investment in a biomass power generation project. This may be the main drawback of this study. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Remediation of Potential Toxic Elements from Wastes and Soils: Analysis and Energy Prospects
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123307 - 15 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The aim of this study is to evaluate the application of the main hazardous waste management techniques in mining operations and in dumping sites being conscious of the inter-linkages and inter-compartment of the contaminated soils and sediments. For this purpose, a systematic review [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the application of the main hazardous waste management techniques in mining operations and in dumping sites being conscious of the inter-linkages and inter-compartment of the contaminated soils and sediments. For this purpose, a systematic review of the literature on the reduction or elimination of different potential toxic elements was carried out, focusing on As, Cd and Hg as main current contaminant agents. Selected techniques are feasible according to several European countries’ directives, especially in Spain. In the case of arsenic, we verified that there exists a main line that is based on the use of iron minerals and its derivatives. It is important to determine its speciation since As (III) is more toxic and mobile than As (V). For cadmium (II), we observed a certain predominance of the use of biotic techniques, compared to a variety of others. Finally, in mercury case, treatments include a phytoremediation technique using Limnocharis flava and the use of a new natural adsorbent: a modified nanobiocomposite hydrogel. The use of biological treatments is increasingly being studied because they are environmentally friendly, efficient and highly viable in both process and energy terms. The study of techniques for the removal of potential toxic elements should be performed with a focus on the simultaneous removal of several metals, since in nature they do not appear in isolation. Moreover, we found that energy analysis constitutes a limiting factor in relation to the feasibility of these techniques. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collective Energy Practices: A Practice-Based Approach to Civic Energy Communities and the Energy System
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113230 - 11 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Civic energy communities (CECs) have emerged throughout Europe in recent years, developing a range of activities to promote, generate, and manage renewable energy within the community. Building on theories of Social Practice, we develop the notion of Collective Energy Practice to account for [...] Read more.
Civic energy communities (CECs) have emerged throughout Europe in recent years, developing a range of activities to promote, generate, and manage renewable energy within the community. Building on theories of Social Practice, we develop the notion of Collective Energy Practice to account for the activity of CECs. This expands the practice-based understanding of energy, which thus far has mostly focused on energy practices of the home. Additionally, we build on earlier practice-based thinking to come to our understanding of a ‘system of energy practices’. This view places the collective energy practices of CECs in a broader mesh of sites of practice, including policymaking, commercial activity, and grid management. Taking account of the enabling and/or restricting the influence of this broad system of energy practices is crucial in understanding the development of CECs’ practices. We accomplish this through the qualitative analysis of our long-term empirical research of five Dutch CEC sites, but also draw on our earlier fieldwork on smart grid projects in the Netherlands. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Local Economic Impact of Wind Energy Development: Analysis of the Regulatory Framework, Taxation, and Income for Galician Municipalities
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082403 - 23 Apr 2019
Abstract
Wind energy has rapidly developed in the last decades, generating economic impacts at different territorial scales and contributing to rural development. However, few research works have analysed its economic impact at a local scale, especially in rural areas. Galicia is a Spanish region [...] Read more.
Wind energy has rapidly developed in the last decades, generating economic impacts at different territorial scales and contributing to rural development. However, few research works have analysed its economic impact at a local scale, especially in rural areas. Galicia is a Spanish region in which 3300 MW of wind energy have been installed in rural municipalities with low levels of socioeconomic activity and important socio-environmental problems. In this sense, the objective of this work is to analyse the local revenues directly derived from wind power activity in relation to changes in the regulatory framework (1995–2017), as well as to quantify those revenues for the year 2017. For this purpose, information has been systematically collected from secondary sources and complemented with 10 years of field and monitoring work on site at the wind farms. This article reveals the relationship between the regulatory framework and the main sources of income associated with wind power generation (conventional and specific taxes, municipal ownership, and other revenues). In 2017, these revenues amounted to 17.8 million euros. This work discusses how the public policies implemented during the analysed time period limited the direct economic impacts of the installation of wind farms on Galician rural municipalities, and consequently hindered rural development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparisons of Acid and Water Solubilities of Rice Straw Ash Together with Its Major Ash-Forming Elements at Different Ashing Temperatures: An Experimental Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071989 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Recycling utilization of straw ash as a fertilizer in farmland is expected to play an important role in the sustainable development of both agriculture and biomass energy. However, the ashing temperature and the aqueous solution characteristics may affect the recycling properties of the [...] Read more.
Recycling utilization of straw ash as a fertilizer in farmland is expected to play an important role in the sustainable development of both agriculture and biomass energy. However, the ashing temperature and the aqueous solution characteristics may affect the recycling properties of the nutrients contained in the ash. The solubilities of both the ash and its elements can represent the above recycling properties. This paper presents a systematic experimental investigation on the acid solubilities of both rice straw ash and its major elements produced from combustion at 400–800 °C, and these findings are compared with the corresponding water solubilities obtained from the authors’ previous work. Meanwhile, the correlations of two solubilities with the ashing temperature were given based on the experimental data. Results show that the acid solubility of rice straw ash decreases linearly by approximately 76% as the ashing temperature increases from 400 to 800 °C, while it is significantly higher than the corresponding water solubility at different temperatures. The acid solubilities of K, P, Ca, Mg, and Na are higher than their water solubilities, whereas two solubilities of S and Cl have almost no dependence on the temperature and the acidity of solution. This study also reveals a strong negative linear relationship between the solubility of K and the temperature. The solubilities of other elements (P, S, Na, Ca, Mg, and Cl) with the temperature have quadratic curve or cubic curve relationships. Furthermore, it is recommended that the ashing temperature should be lower than 600 °C to avoid the loss of some nutrients in the straw ash. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
System and Cost Analysis of Stand-Alone Solar Home System Applied to a Developing Country
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051403 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Power is one of the key requirements for the development of economies and upgrading of standards of living of developing countries. Countries such as Bangladesh depend largely on fossil fuels such as diesel fuel and natural gas to produce the main proportion of [...] Read more.
Power is one of the key requirements for the development of economies and upgrading of standards of living of developing countries. Countries such as Bangladesh depend largely on fossil fuels such as diesel fuel and natural gas to produce the main proportion of their electricity. However, this country’s combination of limited natural gas reserves high fuel prices and escalating costs of transmission and distribution lines has greatly increased the unit cost of electricity generation and it is becoming difficult for customers to pay for electricity. On the other hand, burning fuel causes environmental pollution that leads to global warming which is ultimately responsible for climate change and its devastating consequences. In this study, we have recommended a stand-alone system for the traditional consumption of domestic electric use at residential units in Bangladesh. We have shown a comparison of using the stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) system with the traditional grid connection. Although the initial set-up cost is high, it becomes profitable as people are supplied with electricity, which is being generated from PV as a result minimizing the energy cost from the grid, and in addition, they can later make savings from this system. This paper, therefore, aims at determining the optimum size of the rooftop solar home system that will fulfil all the criteria for powering up electrical appliances at an affordable price. Comparative analysis of both energy systems based on the cost calculation has been performed by means of the Hybrid Optimization of Multiple Energy Renewables (HOMER) software. The validity of this proposal and its usefulness is also analysed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Analysis of the Energy and CO2 Emissions Performance and Technology Gaps in the Agglomerated Cities of China and South Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020475 - 17 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper presents a comparative analysis of the technology gap, energy efficiency, and CO2 emission performance of the agglomerated cities in Eastern and Central China and South Korea under economic heterogeneity. The potential reductions of energy and CO2 emission are estimated [...] Read more.
This paper presents a comparative analysis of the technology gap, energy efficiency, and CO2 emission performance of the agglomerated cities in Eastern and Central China and South Korea under economic heterogeneity. The potential reductions of energy and CO2 emission are estimated from agglomerated city perspectives. The global meta-frontier non-radial direction distance function is used to conduct an empirical analysis of agglomerated cities among Eastern, Central China and South Korea. The results show the potential reduction of 7.58 billion tons of CO2 emissions in Korea and another potential reduction of 1930.62 toe energy for the research period in China, if Korea and China proactively collaborate with each other. The empirical results conclude several unique findings and their implications. First, there are significant differences between the Chinese and Korean cities, in energy efficiency, CO2 emission performance, and meta-technology gaps. Korean cities play a leading role at benchmarking efficiency level with meta-frontier technology. Second, there is no significant difference between total-factor and single-factor performance indexes in the Korean cities, because South Korea requires large capital stocks to replace energy in the production process. However, the opposite is true for Eastern and Central China cities. Finally, there is huge potential for the Chinese cities to reduce energy and CO2 emissions by “catching up” internally as well as by the collaborative efforts with Korean cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Practice and Potential of Renewable Energy Localisation: Results from a UK Field Trial
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010215 - 04 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The adaptation of electricity demand to match the non-despatchable nature of renewable generation is one of the key challenges of the energy transition. We describe a UK field trial in 48 homes of an approach to this problem aimed at directly matching local [...] Read more.
The adaptation of electricity demand to match the non-despatchable nature of renewable generation is one of the key challenges of the energy transition. We describe a UK field trial in 48 homes of an approach to this problem aimed at directly matching local supply and demand. This combined a community-based business model with social engagement and demand response technology employing both thermal and electrical energy storage. A proportion of these homes (14) were equipped with rooftop photovoltaics (PV) amounting to a total of 45 kWp; the business model enabled the remaining 34 homes to consume the electricity exported from the PV-equipped dwellings at a favourably low tariff in the context of a time-of-day tariff scheme. We report on the useful financial return achieved by all participants, their overall experience of the trial, and the proportion of local generation consumed locally. The energy storage devices were controlled, with user oversight, to respond automatically to signals indicating the availability of low cost electricity either from the photovoltaics or the time of day grid tariff. A substantial response was observed in the resulting demand profile from these controls, less so from demand scheduling methods which required regular user configuration. Finally results are reported from a follow-up fully commercial implementation of the concept showing the viability of the business model. We conclude that the sustainability of the transition to renewable energy can be strengthened with a community-oriented approach as demonstrated in the trial that supports users through technological change and improves return on investment by matching local generation and consumption. Full article
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