The environmental cost and benefits analysis of different electricity options: a case study of Kuwait
In Kuwait, electricity is generated from two primary sources that are heavy fuel combustion and natural gas combustion. As Kuwait relies mainly on petroleum-based products for electricity generation, identifying and understanding the environmental and energy trade-off of such operations should be carefully investigated. The life cycle assessment (LCA) tool is applied to identify the potential environmental impacts and energy performance of electricity generation under three scenarios, by considering the material flow in various stages involved such as, raw-material extraction, transportation, and operations. The three scenarios investigated represent current and futuristic electricity grid mixes. The analysis four indicators consisting of two environmental and two energy indicators per one kWh of electricity generated.
The environmental indicators examined are global warming potential (GWP) and water consumption (WC). Whereas the energy indicators target cumulative energy demand (CED) and net energy ratio (NER). Results indicate that one kWh of electricity generated would have a GWP (0.63-0.77) kg CO2-eq, mainly from the fuel combustion process, WC (0.0013-0.0015) m3 of water, about 68% from cooling processes, CED (9.9-10.7) MJ, and NER (0.34-0.39). The variation in results depend on the scenario investigated. It can be observed from the analysis that introducing solar photovoltaic and wind to the electricity grid mix improves the environmental and energy performance of Scenarios 3 where 15% of the electricity generated from renewables (10% solar PV and 5% wind) corresponds to a further decrease in LCA results.