Emission Assessment of Electricity: Mix vs. Marginal Power Plant Method

Presentation and Paper at the 15th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM) in Lodz, Poland

CO2 emissions associated with electricity can be quantified using either the electricity mix or the marginal power plant method. While the electricity mix method represents an attributional approach, the marginal power plant method reflects a consequential perspective focusing on system changes. Due to the mechanisms of the German-Austrian electricity market the two methods largely result in opposing hourly emission factors for electricity (compare figure).

 

mix vs marginal method EN

Figure: Comparison of hourly emission factors (dots) according to the electricity mix and the marginal power plant method for the MONA 2030 "standard" scenario

Thus, the choice of method has a strong influence not only on the assessment of efficiency and electrification measures, but also on the development of emission-optimized load management strategies. While the mix method describes the current energy system and reflects the share of renewables, the marginal power plant method indicates times of renewable surplus electricity and quantifies marginal system effects. The residual load 2.0 can serve as an additional indicator to provide further information on the amount of renewable surplus electricity.

But if large load changes and a long-term perspective are to be considered a more comprehensive assessment approach based on additional energy system simulations is needed. The analysis of systemic effects of various CO2 abatement measures is a key element of the project "Dynamis" and is met with an extensive modelling approach.

The paper is now available via the IEEE Xplore database.

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