Rapid fuel switching from coal to natural gas through effective carbon pricing

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Title: Rapid fuel switching from coal to natural gas through effective carbon pricing
Authors: Staffell, IL
Wilson, IAG
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Great Britain’s overall carbon emissions fell by 6% in 2016, due to cleaner electricity production. This was not due to a surge in low-carbon nuclear or renewable sources; instead it was the much-overlooked impact of fuel switching from coal to natural gas generation. This Perspective considers the enabling conditions in Great Britain and the potential for rapid fuel switching in other coal-reliant countries. We find that spare generation and fuel supply-chain capacity must already exist for fuel switching to deliver rapid carbon savings, and to avoid further high-carbon infrastructure lock-in. More important is the political will to alter the marketplace and incentivize this switch, for example, through a stable and strong carbon price. With the right incentives, fuel switching in the power sector could rapidly achieve on the order of 1 GtCO2 saving per year worldwide (3% of global emissions), buying precious time to slow the growth in cumulative carbon emissions.
Issue Date: 26-Mar-2018
Date of Acceptance: 5-Feb-2018
ISSN: 1520-8524
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Start Page: 365
End Page: 372
Journal / Book Title: Nature Energy
Volume: 3
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/M001369/1
Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Centre for Environmental Policy
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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