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Deployment of Renewable Energy Technologies to Mitigate Climate Change Literature Review
|This page was developed by the Queen's University Applied Sustainability Research Group.|
- 1 Carbon emissions and global warming
- 2 Life Cycle Assessments
- 3 Emissions Offsets
- 4 Options for emissions reduction
- 5 Climate Change and Renewables
- 6 Technology and Renewable Industry Growth
- 6.1 CiNii - Technology Innovation and Climate Change Policy : An Overview of Issues and Options 
- 6.2 Optimizing Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies to Suppress Energy Cannibalism 
- 6.3 Thermodynamic limitations to nuclear energy deployment as a greenhouse gas mitigation technology 
- 6.4 Dynamic energy analysis to assess maximum growth rates in developing power generation capacity: case study of India 
- 7 Feasibility of large-scale renewable energy deployment
- 8 References
Carbon emissions and global warming
This paper outlines the implications of climate change with regards to paleoclimatology and CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivities and forcing are calculated in the context of historical climate change, and the relationships of current climate trends to tipping points are discussed. Finally, acceptable levels of atmospheric CO2 are established with a limit of 450 ppm and a long-term target below 350 ppm.
Life Cycle Assessments
This paper views life-cycle analyses of energy technologies in the context of both the current and possible future energy systems. It notes that the embodied carbon of various renewable energy technologies can be highly dependent on the energy system in which they are manufactured and uses a dynamic approach to life-cycle analysis to assess this dependency. For example, the carbon content of the electricity mix is varied to show the effect on photovoltaic systems’ embodied energy.
Carbon emission and mitigation cost comparisons between fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy resources for electricity generation 
This paper gives an overview of current options for mitigation of carbon, including a summary of currently available and future technologies. Costs of carbon mitigation are discussed and shown in tables comparing them to both coal- and natural gas- fired power plants in both Annex I and non-Annex I countries.
This paper discusses the carbon payback times of different options for creation of biofuels. The study examines six different methods of clearing land for biofuel production and the “carbon debt” created by each of them. Carbon payback time is calculated and methods by which carbon mitigation through use of biofuels can be maximized are shown. In particular, the paper concludes that only biofuel production on marginal and abandoned croplands can make biofuels carbon-negative in the near future.
In this paper, life cycle analysis is conducted on energy technologies with the goal of determining carbon payback times between generation options. Carbon payback times are defined relative to the energy technology they replace. The renewable technologies considered are hydro-electric, photovoltaic, and Ocean Thermal Electric Conversion (OTEC) while the conventional technologies considered are oil, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and coal.
Options for emissions reduction
Stabilization Wedges: solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies 
This paper demonstrates how technologies that have already been developed can meet energy needs for the future while stabilizing carbon dioxide emissions. It does not discuss cost but instead focuses on the technological aspects of scaling up carbon-reduction technologies. Categories outline how many ‘wedges’ of carbon reduction can be achieved by certain policies: increases in efficiency and conservation, decarbonization of energy, and natural sinks. Each “wedge” represents a certain amount of carbon that can be mitigated between 2010 and 2050.
This paper discusses the challenges inherit in lowering the carbon content of the current energy system. The feasibility of meeting atmospheric carbon targets is surveyed, in particular the use of current technologies such as efficiency, carbon sequestration, renewables, nuclear power, and geoengineering in meeting these targets. In addition, new technology options emerging from these areas and corresponding Research and Development are discussed.
Climate Change and Renewables
This paper explores the role that renewable energy can play in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. In particular, it discusses the price on carbon that would make renewables economically viable, and discusses their mitigation potential in the future. The paper then shows the effects of an increase of renewable energy market share.
Renewable energy sources: Their global potential for the first-half of the 21st century at a global level: An integrated approach 
This study outlines the geological, technical, and economic potential of wind, solar and biomass (WSB) resources. Biomass is studied both in the context of biofuels and as a power generation option using woody biomass. The study also discusses tradeoffs between each of the renewable options due to their land-use intensity.
Technology and Renewable Industry Growth
This paper presents the challenges of lowering greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to allow economic growth. Methods by which technologies to reduce GHG emissions can be utilized are explored while economic feasibility of low- and high-carbon futures is assessed. Policy alternatives for encouraging innovation are explored through a summary of demand-pull and technology-push options.
This conference paper outlines the concept of energy cannibalism, which explains how at a certain growth rate all energy produced by an energy or conservation technology is used in producing more of the technology. The paper then discusses how the embodied carbon of a renewable energy technology decreases over time as the world moves towards a low-carbon economy, and how the costs of fossil fuel extraction rise as more fuel is extracted. The conclusion of the paper outlines an “energy economy” in which the cost of energy is properly valued.
Thermodynamic limitations to nuclear energy deployment as a greenhouse gas mitigation technology 
This paper outlines the limitations to growth of nuclear energy based on net energy analysis. It first reviews the life-cycle of nuclear power plants from an energy standpoint. It then discusses the net energy production of the nuclear industry viewed as a whole and the constraints that this production places on its growth. This growth is compared to the necessary growth that the nuclear industry must undergo in order to meet future energy demand while mitigating fossil fuel carbon emissions. open access
Dynamic energy analysis to assess maximum growth rates in developing power generation capacity: case study of India 
This paper introduces the concept of a “dynamic” energy analysis, which incorporates growth of an energy technology into a life-cycle energy analysis. This approach allows effective viewing of an energy technology from a national policymaking perspective. As part of the approach, a maximum self-sustaining growth rate is found where an energy technology transitions from a net energy pool to a net energy sink. Maximum growth rates are found for most energy technologies.
Feasibility of large-scale renewable energy deployment
This paper gives an overview of the policy changes required to deploy renewable energy generation on a scale comparable to fossil fuels. It provides an overview of currently available renewable resources, then demonstrates the technological, policy, marketplace, and other barriers to large-scale renewable deployment. Finally, the paper reviews strategies for reducing these barriers through RD&D, policy, and market incentives.
This article expresses the viewpoint that renewable energy poses the best path for the future of energy technologies. The author discusses the feasibility of deployment for common renewable technologies, as well as the energy and carbon paybacks of these systems. Finally, the article discusses a roadmap for integration of renewable energy with the transportation sector and existing energy infrastructure.
- James Hansen et al., “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?,” The Open Atmospheric Science Journal 2, no. 1 (11, 2008): 217-231.
- Martin Pehnt, “Dynamic life cycle assessment (LCA) of renewable energy technologies,” Renewable Energy 31, no. 1 (January 2006): 55-71.
- Ralph E. H. Sims, Hans-Holger Rogner, and Ken Gregory, “Carbon emission and mitigation cost comparisons between fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy resources for electricity generation,” Energy Policy 31, no. 13 (October 2003): 1315-1326.
- Joseph Fargione et al., “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt,” Science 319, no. 5867 (February 29, 2008): 1235-1238.
- K. Tahara, T. Kojima, and A. Inaba, “Evaluation of CO2 payback time of power plants by LCA,” Energy Conversion and Management 38, no. 1 (1997): 615-620.
- Pacala S. and R. Socolow (2004), “Stabilization Wedges: solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies,” Science, 205 (5686), pp. 968-972, August 13, 2004, and its Supporting Online Material
- Martin I. Hoffert et al., “Advanced Technology Paths to Global Climate Stability: Energy for a Greenhouse Planet,” Science 298, no. 5595 (November 1, 2002): 981-987.
- R. E. H. Sims, “Renewable energy: a response to climate change,” Solar Energy 76, no. 1-3 (2004): 9-17.
- Bert J.M. de Vries, Detlef P. van Vuuren, and Monique M. Hoogwijk, “Renewable energy sources: Their global potential for the first-half of the 21st century at a global level: An integrated approach,” Energy Policy 35, no. 4 (April 2007): 2590-2610.
- Michael Grubb, “CiNii - Technology Innovation and Climate Change Policy : An Overview of Issues and Options,”
- J.M. Pearce, “Optimizing Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Strategies to Suppress Energy Cannibalism” 2nd Climate Change Technology Conference Proceedings, p. 48, 2009
- Joshua M. Pearce, “Thermodynamic limitations to nuclear energy deployment as a greenhouse gas mitigation technology,” International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology 2, no. 1 (2008): 113 - 130.
- Jyotirmay Mathur, Narendra Kumar Bansal, and Hermann-Joseph Wagner, “Dynamic energy analysis to assess maximum growth rates in developing power generation capacity: case study of India,” Energy Policy 32, no. 2 (January 2004): 281-287.
- Karsten Neuhoff, “Large-Scale Deployment of Renewables for Electricity Generation,” Oxf Rev Econ Policy 21, no. 1 (March 1, 2005): 88-110.
- John A. Turner, “A Realizable Renewable Energy Future,” Science 285, no. 5428 (July 30, 1999): 687-689.