We performed a comprehensive and internally consistent assessment of the energy performance of the full range of electricity production technologies in the United Kingdom, integrating the viewpoints offered by net energy analysis (NEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA). Specifically, the energy return on investment (EROI), net-to-gross energy output ratio (NTG) and non-renewable cumulative energy demand (nr-CED) indicators were calculated for coal, oil, gas, biomass, nuclear, hydro, wind and PV electricity. Results point to wind, and to a lesser extent PV, as the most recommendable technologies overall in order to foster a transition towards an improved electricity grid mix in the UK, from both points of view of short-term effectiveness at providing a net energy gain to support the multiple societal energy consumption patterns, and long-term energy sustainability (the latter being inversely proportional to the reliance on non-renewable primary energy sources). The importance to maintain a sufficient installed capacity of readily-dispatchable gas-fired electricity is also recognized.
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences
Year of publication: 2015Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-03-17