External Publications
Date: 24/8/2017

How Much Does Wind Power Reduce CO2 Emissions? Evidence from the Irish Single Electricity Market


Valeria Di Cosmo (Economic and Social Research Institute, Department of Economics - Trinity College Dublin); Laura Malaguzzi Valeri (Economic and Social Research Institute)

Type: Journal
Published in: Environmental and Resource Economics, volume 71, pages645–669


This paper evaluates the effect of wind generation on  CO2 emissions using 2008–2012 historical data for the Irish Single Electricity Market. Wind generation displaces CO2 emissions, as expected, in line with the average system emissions. Over the whole period, wind generation avoided about 8.8 million tons of  CO2, equivalent to about 12% of total system emissions. To understand what drives the level of abatement we evaluate the results by technology and determine that wind generation has similar effects on total emissions from CCGT and coal plants, due to the higher carbon content of coal. Each MWh of wind, however, replaces more generation from CCGTs than from coal plants, in proportion to their generation. We also test the hypothesis that as wind displaces baseload plants it pushes them to generate less efficiently, but find no evidence of a strong negative effect of wind on CCGT or coal plant efficiency. Finally wind displaces about 2.5% fewer emissions when the pumped storage plant is on outage, suggesting that wind is more effective when paired with a flexible system.

How Much Does Wind Power Reduce CO2 Emissions? Evidence from the Irish Single Electricity Market

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