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Emerging literature highlights the essential role played by decarbonised electricity generation in future energy systems consistent with the Paris Climate Agreement. This analysis compares the impacts of high levels of renewable electricity and negative emissions technologies on exploratory visions of the future EU power system (2050) in terms of emissions reduction, technical operation and total system costs. The analysis shows that high renewable power system scenarios coupled with low levels of negative emissions technologies, such as biomass carbon capture and storage (< 2% of installed capacity), can deliver a net-negative European power system at lower comparable cost without breaching published sustainable biomass potentials in Europe (or requiring imports) or geological storage potentials while also contributing to power system inertia. Direct air capture has the capability to further decrease overall carbon emissions. While carbon capture and storage and power-to-gas must overcome market, regulatory and social acceptance challenges, given their potential benefits to emissions reduction, costs and system operation their role in a future power system should be further explored.
Gaffney, F., Deane, J. P., Drayton, G., Glynn, J., & Gallachóir, B. P. Ó. (2020). Comparing negative emissions and high renewable scenarios for the European power system. BMC Energy, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42500-020-00013-4