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Wind and solar energy: a comparison of costs and environmental impacts
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  • Journal title : Advances in Energy Research
  • Volume 4, Issue 2,  2016, pp.121-146
  • Publisher : Techno-Press
  • DOI : 10.12989/eri.2016.4.2.121
 Title & Authors
Wind and solar energy: a comparison of costs and environmental impacts
Carnevale, Ennio A.; Lombardi, Lidia; Zanchi, Laura;
This study is concerned with the analysis of two renewable technologies for electric energy production: wind energy and photovoltaic energy. The two technologies were assessed and compared by economic point of view, by using selected indicators characterized by a clear calculation approach, requirement of information easy to be collected, clear, but even complete, interpretation of results. The used economic indicators are Levelized Cost of Energy, abatement cost and fossil fuel saving specific cost; these last two specifically aimed at evaluating the different capabilities that renewable technologies have to cut down direct emissions and to avoid fossil fuel extraction. The two technologies were compared also from the environmental point of view by applying Life Cycle Assessment approach and using the environmental impact categories from the Eco-indicator`95 method. The economic analysis was developed by taking into account different energy system sizes and different geographic areas in order to compare different European conditions (Italy, Germany and Denmark) in term of renewable resource availability and market trend. The environmental analysis was developed comparing two particular types of PV and wind plants, respectively residential and micro-wind turbine, located in Italy. According to the three calculated economic indicators, the wind energy emerged as more favorable than PV energy. From the environmental point of view, both the technologies are able to provide savings for almost all the considered environmental impact categories. The proposed approach, based on the use of economic and environmental indicators may be useful in supporting the policies and the decision making procedures concerned with the promotion and use of renewables, in reference to the specific geographic, economic and temporal conditions.
renewables;wind energy;photovoltaic;economics;Life Cycle Assessment;
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