18.104.22.168 Ancillary Benefits Associated with Mitigation in the Electricity Industry
The ancillary benefits expected from the increased use of new generating technologies
adopted to achieve GHG mitigation would be sales and employment growth for those
who manufacture and construct the new generation facilities. There could also
be income and employment growth in the production of fuels for this new generation.
The ancillary benefits associated with use of non-fossil energy for thermal
applications would be similar.
Ancillary benefits of increased use of renewable sources have been described
by several experts (Brower, 1992; Johansson et al., 1993; Pimental
et al., 1994; Miyamoto, 1997). These include:
- further social and economic development, such as enhanced employment opportunities
in rural areas, which can help reduce rural poverty and decrease the pressures
to migrate to urban areas;
- and restoration activities such as improvement of degraded lands and associated
positive impacts on farm economics, new rural development opportunities, prevention
of erosion, habitats for wildlife;
- reduced emissions, in certain instances, of local pollutants;
- potential for fuel diversity; and
- elimination of the need for costly disposal of waste materials, such as
crop residues and household refuse.
22.214.171.124 Ancillary Costs Associated with Mitigation in the
There are also ancillary costs associated with actions to mitigate GHGs in
the electricity sector. The growth experienced by those who benefit from mitigation
would be offset by a decline in sales and employment for those who would have
produced and constructed the facilities that would have been built without the
mitigation activity. Similarly, there will be a loss of income and jobs for
those that would have provided the fuel for those facilities no longer being
built (i.e., the coal industry). The specifics of the mitigation policy and
action will effect whether the net effect of this shifting of economic activity
will be positive or negative.
There are also environmental issues associated with some of the renewable technologies.
For example, concern has been raised about the ecological impacts of intensive
cultivation of biomass for energy, the loss of land and other negative impacts
of hydro electricity development, and the noise, visual interference, and potential
for killing birds associated with wind generation (Brower, 1992; Pimental et
al., 1994; IEA, 1997a; Miyamoto, 1997; IEA, 1998a).
Nuclear power might be expected to increase substantially as a result of GHG
mitigation policies, because power from nuclear fuel produces negligible GHGs.
The construction of nuclear power stations, however, does lead to GHG emissions,
but over the lifecycle of the plant these are much lower than those from comparable
fossil fuel stations.
In spite of the advantages, nuclear power is not seen as the solution to the
global warming problem in many countries. The main issues are (1) the high costs
compared to alternative combined cycle gas turbines, (2) public concerns about
operating safety and waste disposal, (3) safety of radioactive waste management
and recycling of nuclear fuel, (4) the risks of nuclear fuel storage and transportation,
and (5) nuclear weapon proliferation (Hagan, 1998). Whether the full potential
for nuclear power development to reduce GHGs can be realized will be determined
by political and public responses and safety management.