Environmental impact assessment of Australian power stations using integrated LCA and GIS methods
The environmental impacts of 197 Australian power stations were analysed using combined LCA and GIS methods. Mid and endpoint impact assessments of eight fuel sources, black coal, brown coal, natural gas, diesel, coal seam methane, landfill gas, sewage gas and bagasse were performed using ReCiPe 2016 hierarchist method, and found that brown coal had the highest mid and endpoint impacts per MWh electricity, whereas sewage gas performed the lowest midpoint impact, while landfill gas was the lowest in the endpoint impact. However, when the percentage share of each fuel source in national electricity mix was considered, black coal was found to be the most impactful fuel source due to its highest share of 46.6%. The impact assessment results of two LCA methods, ReCiPe 2016 and CML-IA baseline were compared, and found differences in the applied factors to estimate the impacts. Since the majority of coal power stations are located in the areas with high populations, the potential impacts in these areas could be of particular concern. Estimated CO2 emissions from electricity generation in 2030 based on emission reduction scenarios highlight the necessity of stricter regulations for emission controls in order to meet the Australia's 2030 emission reduction target.