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Modeling impacts of European renewable energy policies on the emissions of mercury

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Shaker Verlag


This paper presents the methodology and results of impact assessment of renewable energy policies on atmospheric emissions of mercury in Europe. The modeling exercise described here was carried out within the EU s FP7 EnerGEO Project4 and involves an interaction of several models. First, a set of energy scenarios has been developed with the REMix model that simulates different levels of penetration of renewable energies in the European power sector. The energy scenarios were input to the GAINS model, which prepared projections of mercury releases to the atmosphere through 2050, based on the current air pollution control policies in each country. Data on mercury emissions from individual sectors were subsequently disaggregated to the fine spatial resolution with the use of the LOTOS-EUROS model. Finally, the dispersion of mercury in the atmosphere was computed by the chemistry transport model, implemented to the air quality system Polyphemus. The simulations provided information on changes in concentrations and depositions of various forms of mercury over Europe. Scenarios that simulate a substantial expansion of renewable energies within the power sector indicate extensive co-benefits for mercury abatement due to restructuring of energy system and changes in fuel-mix. The potential for mercury reductions in Europe depends on the rate of fuel switches and renewable technology deployment, but is also influenced by the stringency and timing of the air quality measures. The overall scope for co-benefits is therefore higher in regions relying on coal combustion as a major energy source.


Rafaj, Peter; Cofala, Janusz; Kuenen, Jeroen; Wyrwa, Artur; Zysk, Janusz (2013): Modeling impacts of European renewable energy policies on the emissions of mercury. Proceedings of the 27th Conference on Environmental Informatics - Informatics for Environmental Protection, Sustainable Development and Risk Management. Aachen: Shaker Verlag. Sustainability. Hamburg. 2013