Power To Paris

The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage in a Future European Electricity System that Abides by the COP21 Climate Agreement

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Abstract

To limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius in 2100, the European power sector needs to transform. Renewable energy capacity is required to reach this ambition, together with transmission and storage capacity to maintain grid stability. Carbon capture and storage could potentially decrease the required renewable energy capacity, while simultaneously increasing grid flexibility. This research focuses on finding a cost-optimal composition of technologies, while abiding by the goals set in the Paris climate treaty. To investigate this objective, two optimisation models are compared: a linear programmed optimisation model with a high temporal and low technical resolution, and a unit commitment model with a low temporal but high technical resolution. Fixed costs and installed capacities are determined by the linear model. Subsequently, both models calculate the optimal generation mix. Three scenarios for 2050 were evaluated: a 'business as usual' reference scenario with maximum emission comparable to 2014 levels, a scenario with a maximum emission consistent with a 96% reduction in 2050 compared to 2014 and a scenario with that same target and the possibility to implement carbon capture and storage. The results show that the goals set by the Paris agreement increase system costs of the European power sector, but the increase is moderated by deployment of carbon capture and storage. Compared to the linear model, unit commitment increases variable costs, but this increase is modest, serving as confirmation that a linear modelling approach can be sufficient for answering a wide range of questions. To increase accuracy, one might integrate both models and provide a complete answer that integrates long time-spans and a wide variety of technical constraints.