Technology and Engineering
  • ISSN: 2333-2581
  • Modern Environmental Science and Engineering

Environmental Assessment of the Wind and Solar PV Power Expansion in Brazil From a Life Cycle Perspective

João Gabriel Gonçalves de Lassio, Denise Matos, and David Branco

Energy Planning Program, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Abstract: Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and wind turbines, has been a promising pathway not only because of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and countries' energy dependence but also thanks to their availability and inexhaustibility. In Brazil, solar PV and wind onshore are key components in the electricity supply expansion. Although the electricity generation from these energy sources could be considered carbon emission-free, they have important environmental impacts outside their operation stage. This paper aims at evaluating of environmental impacts of the Brazilian electricity generation expansion from solar PV and wind onshore through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). We assess the environmental impacts resulting from the generation of 1 kWh from solar PV systems and wind turbines in a Brazilian context. This analysis is extended to two electricity generation expansion scenarios for these energy sources, established by the Brazilian energy policies. Seven impact categories are analyzed. According to the results, the electricity generation from wind turbines is associated with lower environmental impacts when compared to solar PV systems. Accordingly, the scenario in which the expansion of wind onshore exceeds those of the solar PV is the most environmentally responsible.

Key words: energy planning, renewable energy sources, life cycle assessment, wind onshore, solar photovoltaic

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