21 March 23

What are the environmental impacts of the electricity we use?

New scientific article presents a detailed assessment of the environmental impacts of electricity generation and supply in Italy.

  • English

In collaboration with the University of Coimbra, and its associated centre ADAI, our researchers have recently published a new scientific article in the Journal for Cleaner Production, presenting a comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts of current and future electricity generation and supply.

The research combined life-cycle assessment (LCA) with energy system modelling, to calculate the potential environmental impacts of electricity supply in Italy, today and in 2030, with an hourly resolution. While future scenarios - with larger renewable energy shares - resulted in reduced environmental impacts in most categories, they were associated with burden shifts. For example, high shares of solar photovoltaic generation resulted in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, but increased mineral and metal resource depletion and land use impacts.

The research demonstrated the need for comprehensive and detailed environmental impact assessments of electricity generation and supply with fine time resolution, which can assess seasonal and intra-daily variations. The approach is fully replicable to other countries and regions, and it can provide robust results to adequately inform decision-making on electricity generation and demand management, toward more sustainable energy systems.

Read the scientific article here

This research has received funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No.101026073 - ARTEMIS project.

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