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Wojciech Stanek, Lucyna Czarnowska, Wiesław Gazda, and Tomasz Simla (2018)

Thermo-ecological cost of electricity from renewable energy sources

Renewable Energy, 115:87-96.

Nowadays, the society faces the challenge of continuous supply of electricity. Energy from two different sources of origin such as renewable and non-renewable is used to meet the needs of modern humankind. The paper presents the findings concerning the thermo-ecological cost assessment of renewable energy sources defining their total impact on the environment. Biogas, wind and photovoltaic power plants were evaluated to present the results of cumulative environmental impact based on the thermo-ecological cost methodology. Polish law regulations and the prediction of the future energy mix structure are described to emphasize the importance of selected technologies. The measurements data of real renewable energy units in Poland and the characteristics of components were used to calculate thermo-ecological cost of electricity originating from renewable sources. Moreover, different phases of the production chain are considered to present results in total life cycle of the respective technologies. In the calculations, continuous availability of conventional power plants for stabilizing the current electricity needs is taken into account. Finally, the results of this study prove that biogas power plants cause lower environmental impact than wind and photovoltaic technologies.

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