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Electricity trade and GHG emissions: Assessment of Quebec's hydropower in the Northeastern American market (2006-2008)

Mourad Amor (), Pierre-Olivier Pineau, Caroline Gaudreault and Réjean Samson

Energy Policy, 2011, vol. 39, issue 3, 1711-1721

Abstract: Worldwide electricity sector reforms open up electricity markets and increase trades. This has environmental consequences as exports and imports either increase or decrease local production and consequently greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper's objective is to illustrate the importance of electricity trade's impact on GHG emissions by providing an estimate of the net GHG emissions resulting from these trades. To achieve this objective, Quebec hourly electricity exchanges with adjacent jurisdictions were examined over the 2006-2008 period. In order to associate a specific GHG emission quantity to electricity trades, hourly marginal electricity production technologies were identified and validated using the Ontario hourly output per power plant and information released in the Quebec adjacent system operator reports. It is estimated that over three years, imports into Quebec were responsible for 7.7Â Mt of GHG, while Quebec hydropower exports avoided 28.3Â Mt of GHG emissions. Hence, the net result is 20.6Â Mt of avoided emissions over 2006-2008, or about 7Â Mt per year, which corresponds to more than 8% of the Quebec yearly GHG emissions. When GHG emissions from all life cycle stages (resource extraction to end-of-life) are accounted for, the net avoided GHG emissions increase by 35%, to 27.9Â Mt.

Keywords: Electricity; trade; Marginal; technology; GHG; estimate (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:1711-1721