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Laurence Stamford and Adisa Azapagic Life cycle sustainability assessment of electricity options for the UK International Journal of Energy Research 36

Article first published online: 23 SEP 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/er.2962

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Five electricity options are considered: coal, gas, nuclear, solar PV and wind. Each option is assessed on a life cycle basis for economic, environmental and social impacts, using a range of sustainability indicators. The results show that no one technology is superior and that certain trade-offs must be made. For example, nuclear and offshore wind power have the lowest environmental impacts; coal and gas are the cheapest but both have high global warming potential (GWP); PV has relatively low GWP but high cost, ozone layer and resource depletion; nuclear increases energy security but also poses complex risk and intergenerational questions.

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