Electricity consumption is often the hotspot of life cycle assessment (LCA) of products, industrial activities, or services. The objective of this paper is to provide a consistent, scientific, region-specific electricity-supply-based inventory of electricity generation technology for national and regional power grids. Marginal electricity generation technology is pivotal in assessing impacts related to additional consumption of electricity. China covers a large geographical area with regional supply grids; these are arguably equally or less integrated. Meanwhile, it is also a country with internal imbalances in regional energy supply and demand. Therefore, we suggest an approach to achieve a geographical subdivision of the Chinese electricity grid, corresponding to the interprovincial regional power grids, namely the North, the Northeast, the East, the Central, the Northwest, and the Southwest China Grids, and the China Southern Power Grid. The approach combines information from the Chinese national plans on for capacity changes in both production and distribution grids, and knowledge of resource availability. The results show that nationally, marginal technology is coal-fired electricity generation, which is the same scenario in the North and Northwest China Grid. In the Northeast, East, and Central China Grid, nuclear power gradually replaces coal-fired electricity and becomes the marginal technology. In the Southwest China Grid and the China Southern Power Grid, the marginal electricity is hydropower towards 2030.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).
- Marginal technology
- Power grid
- Consequential life cycle assessment