Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Comprehensive Analysis of the Environmental Benefits of Introducing Technology Innovation in the Energy Sector: Case Study in Chongqing City, China

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Comprehensive Analysis of the Environmental Benefits of Introducing Technology Innovation in the Energy Sector: Case Study in Chongqing City, China

Article excerpt

Abstract

Because of the serious damage caused by acid rain, Chongqing city was designated as an Acid Rain Control Zone by the Chinese Central Government. The main factor responsible for the acid rain is the ever-increasing emission of sulfur dioxide (SO2) due to utilization of coal as the primary energy source to meet increasing energy demand. Simultaneously2, CO2 emission has dramatically increased with coal utilization. In order to transform the current energy structure,2 alternative renewable energy technologies must be identified and proved feasible and effective. This research aims to comprehensively analyze the benefits of small-scale hydropower and wind power technologies to reduce SO2 and Greenhouse gases (GHG). For this purpose, we constructed a dynamic comprehensive evaluation model b2ased on an Input-Output (I/O) analysis for the period 2010-2020. The simulation results indicate that the introduction of small scale hydropower and wind power technologies have a positive impact on Chongqing's socio-economic, environmental and energy development in the first half of the study period. However, the results also show that the scarcity of renewable energy technologies to meet the increasing energy demand as well as the stricter emission constrains affect both economic growth and SO2 and GHG reduction efforts from the latter half of the study period. To address this weakness, the study suggests2 that additional advanced renewable energy technologies are necessary as well as specific regulations to meet air pollution reduction targets. Last but not least, some feasible policies are proposed by analyzing the potential economic benefit of reducing air pollution and GHG emissions in terms of improved quality of life and environmental conservation. We argue that these benefits could offset the lower GRP growth obtained by the proposed policy.

Keywords: acid rain, greenhouse gas, dynamic input-output model, renewable energy technology, simulation analysis

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

The access to a stable energy supply is a very important condition to achieve sustainable development. China has largely relied on the utilization of fossil fuels, especially coal, as a primary energy source to meet increasing demand for economic development. This situation has led to an inappropriate energy consumption structure. Furthermore, environmental degradation including acid rain associated with this unsustainable energy structure is becoming more prominent, with the rapid economic development. Renewable energy, an effective tool in reducing SO2 and GHG emissions and in providing energy supply, has attracted increasing attention worldwide as clean ene2rgy resource (Dincer, 2000; Menegaki, 2008; Zheng, Zhang, Yu, & Lin, 2011). Chongqing is a typical area in this respect; almost all of its energy comes from fossil fuels particularly coal. The proportion of coal to the total energy utilization was 70 % in 2010 (Chongqing Municipal Bureau of Statistics, 2011). The reliance on coal for energy supply has caused environmental problems including acid rain and air pollution in addition to the rapid increase in GHG emissions. It is significant for Chongqing to introduce renewable energy technologies to improve the local energy structure while achieving the SO2 and GHG emission targets set by the Chinese Central Government. Chongqing is located in Southwest Ch2ina, where the distribution rate of economically exploitable hydro resources in China is 58.9 % (Huang & Yang, 2009). This means hydropower will be an important potential renewable energy contributing to energy structure transformation. Additionally in the "12th Five Year Plan", the Chongqing government plans to introduce wind power technologies to promote the wind power industry. In this process, evaluation of candidate renewable technologies is a significant step for government policy-makers to decide budget allocation, mitigation plans, energy and economic development. …

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