Could Switzerland, as planned, reduce carbon dioxide?Two Emissions to zero by 2050? In a study, researchers at Paul Scherrer PSI investigated what measures would be necessary to achieve this reduction and how much it might cost per person.
In August 2019, the Swiss Federal Council decided on an ambitious goal to curb climate change: From 2050 onwards, Switzerland, in general, should not release more greenhouse gas emissions. With this commitment, Switzerland is fulfilling the internationally agreed goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era.
Now a study by the Paul Scherrer Institute, carried out as part of the joint activity “Scenarios and Modeling” of the eight Swiss Centers for Energy Research (SCCER), is looking at options for achieving this goal in the energy sector.
“The goal of achieving net zero carbon dioxideTwo Emissions by 2050 require fundamental shifts in energy savings and consumption in nearly all areas, ”concludes Tom Cooper, chair of the PSI Energy Economics Group and one of the lead authors of the study.
In their analyzes, the researchers considered the energy-related carbon dioxideTwo Emissions as well as carbon dioxideTwo Emissions from industrial processes. Today these emissions account for about 80% of all greenhouse gas storage in Switzerland. Emissions from international aviation and agriculture – excluding emissions from fuel combustion – land use, changes in land use, forestry, as well as waste – excluding emissions from waste incineration – are not included in the study’s calculations. Also, emissions in other countries related to the consumption of goods in Switzerland were not a subject of study.
The electricity from photovoltaics should at least double every decade
The central conclusions of the study are: Between now and 2050, the installed capacity of PV systems should at least double every decade. With 26 TWh of production envisioned in 2050, PV systems will be the second largest technology cluster for hydroelectric power generation (approximately 38 TWh in 2050). Moreover, cogeneration power plants and energy, as well as wind power plants, hydrogen fuel cells and electricity imports, contribute to meeting the electricity demand. In the main scenario to achieve the net zero emissions target, total electricity generation from power plants and storage facilities in Switzerland will increase by about a fifth to 83 TWh in 2050. The study assumes that Swiss nuclear power plants will be decommissioned by 2045. Private car fleet should be approved Largely on electric motors by 2050, which means that by 2030, every new registered car must be fully electric. In addition, the use of heat pumps in service and living areas must be accelerated dramatically, so that by 2050 it can cover nearly three quarters of the demand for heating and hot water. At the same time, it will be necessary to achieve significant energy savings through the rapid renovation of apartment buildings.
If Switzerland is to achieve the net zero emissions target, a large increase in electricity consumption must be expected. Thus in 2050, electricity consumption could be about 20 TWh higher than the current level. The primary drive for this growth is the use of electricity to power cars, buses and trucks, either directly in battery electric vehicles or indirectly through hydrogen or so-called electronic fuels – that is, synthetic fuels, which are produced by means of electricity from hydrogen and carbon dioxide.Two. In fixed sectors, the proliferation of installed heat pumps will increase electricity consumption. However, if the necessary efficiency gains are achieved in heating and hot water supply, they could offset the increased electricity consumption. The results of the study showed that fixed sectors can achieve a near constant level of electricity consumption.
Besides electrical energy, other forms of energy will also play a role. For example, long-distance transportation and freight freight as well as energy-intensive industry provide prospects for new hydrogen applications. To produce such low- or zero-emission hydrogen, it would require a large amount of sustainably generated electricity – 9 terawatt hours in 2050.
It probably wouldn’t work without the COTwo Capture
“If Switzerland wants to achieve its zero emissions target by 2050, then it is in carbon dioxide in the futureTwo “Each year emissions should be reduced by a million to 1.5 million tons compared to the previous year,” says Evangelos Panos, lead author of the study. “We have seen changes in the COTwo Emissions of this magnitude between 1950 and 1980 – albeit in the opposite direction – at that time increased dramatically. ”Although there are restrictions, COTwo It has been found essential to implement emission reduction in a cost-effective manner. In some sub-sectors, it may even be possible to reach a negative carbon dioxide equilibriumTwo Emissions. This would be the case, for example, if biomass was used as a source of energy and carbon dioxideTwo Produced while generating energy it is not emitted, rather it is captured and stored underground. In the event that this is not possible in Switzerland – for example due to rejection by the population or due to the limited location of the COTwo Storage – transnational transport of captured carbon dioxideTwo Storage in other countries can provide an alternative. In their study, for the year 2050, the researchers assume that the total is approximately 9 million tons of carbon dioxideTwo He will be arrested in Switzerland.
“More than two-thirds of the emission reductions required for the net-zero emissions target can be achieved using technologies that are already commercially available or in the demonstration phase,” explains Banus. A carbon-free energy system can be achieved in the future, but it requires carbon-free energy sources, for example appropriately generated electricity, biofuels and e-fuels, access to transmission and distribution infrastructure, and the possibility of importing clean fuels and electricity.
The costs are difficult to estimate
When it comes to costs, energy system researchers are cautious. “It’s difficult to estimate costs because so many ingredients play a role,” says Cooper. In the assumed net zero main scenario in the study, the average incremental costs discounted for a climate protection scenario compared to the reference scenario with a moderate climate protection (40% COTwo In 2050 compared to 1990) in Switzerland it would amount to about CHF 330 per capita per year (base 2010) for the period up to 2050. Given all the scenarios examined, one can see a range of average costs between 200 and 860 2010. CHF per capita per year, which ultimately reflects various developments in energy technologies, resource availability, market integration, technology acceptance, and preferences related to supply security. The trend in costs shows, above all, a long-term increase, so relatively higher costs can be expected after 2050.
The study is based on calculations made using PSI’s TIMES Swiss Energy System (STEM) model, which defines the entire energy system in Switzerland including the different interactions between technologies and sectors. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) combines a long-term time horizon with high time resolution within the year and calculates, for various assumptions of future framework, the least expensive configurations of the energy system and the achievement of various energy and climate policy goals. The model has been extensively developed as part of this research project, particularly regarding options for achieving net zero COTwo Emission scenarios. The model is used to calculate scenarios, not to make predictions, but to give insight into the diverse interactions in the energy system and thus to contribute to supporting decision-making in politics, industry and society. Specifically, three main scenarios were examined in this study: a reference scenario, net zero COTwo The emissions reduction scenario is a scenario that assumes the goals of the Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 without explicitly specifying carbon dioxideTwo Reduction goal. In addition, seven different variables of the main scenarios were analyzed, such as one variable with high potential for technological innovation and the other variable directed towards reducing dependence on energy imports.
In addition to PSI, the following institutions participate in the SCCER Collaborative Framework of Action “Scenarios and Modeling”: Empa, EPFL, ETH Zurich, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, University of Basel, University of Geneva and WSL. The study was funded by Innosuisse, the Swiss innovation agency.
Text: Paul Shearer Institute / Sebastian Gozzi
Dr. Tom Cooper
Head of the Energy Economics Group
Energy Systems Analysis Lab
Paul Scherer Institute, Forschungsstrasse 111, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
Phone: +41 56 310 26 31; E-mail: [email protected] [German, English]
Banus, E. Cooper, T. Ramachandran, K. (2021): Long-term energy transition pathways – scenario analysis integrated with the Swiss TIMES energy systems model; Joint Activity Scenarios Report and Modeling of Swiss Efficiency Centers for Energy Research. Download the pdf copy: