Environmental Impact of Electricity: A Life-Cycle Perspective - Seminar featuring Edgar Hertwich

Yale University Professor and Director of Industrial Ecology, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Edgar Hertwich
1:00-2:00pm
Monday, February 29, 2016
Location: Building E19, room 319


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Edgar Hertwich

Abstract

As some renewable energy projects face increasing environmental opposition, do we underestimate the potential downside of clean energy? In particular, is variable renewable power really any good if it may not be available when we want it? A new report of the International Resource Panel provides a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts of various power technologies. Building on lifecycle inventories from this work, Edgar Hertwich and his team have developed comparative assessments of electricity scenarios for Europe. The work shows that transmission grid extensions can address the challenge of matching wind energy to demand, while energy storage is needed for photovoltaics.

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About the speaker

Edgar Hertwich is professor and director of Industrial Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He also serves as president-elect of the International Society of Industrial Ecology. Until recently, he served as the director of the Industrial Ecology Program of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, building the technically most rigorous MSc program in the field. He is a founding member of the International Resource Panel, where he leads the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts. He was a lead author of the energy systems chapter of the IPCC 5th assessment report. He also contributed to the methods annex, the Technical Summary and the Summary for Policy makers. Apart from clean energy systems, Hertwich’s research addresses environmental footprints and the translocation of environmental impacts through international trade, as well as possibilities for green lifestyles.

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