Responsible editor: Shabbir Gheewala
The purpose of the study was to perform a comparative life cycle assessment of current and future electricity generation systems in the Czech Republic and Poland. The paper also outlines the main sources of environmental impact for the different impact categories for the electricity generation technologies analyzed. The analyses covered the years 2000–2050, and were conducted within the framework of the international programme Interreg V-A Czech Republic-Poland, Microprojects Fund 2014–2020 in the Euroregion Silesia.
Environmental assessment was done using the life cycle assessment (LCA) and ReCiPe Midpoint and Endpoint methods, which allowed the presentation of different categories of environmental impact and damage. The LCA was based on ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, using SimaPro 8.2.3 software with the Ecoinvent 3.2 database. The analyses cover both the current electricity production structures in the Czech Republic and Poland, and the projected energy production.
Results and discussion
The LCA analyses performed for the energy systems under consideration in the Czech Republic and Poland enabled a comparative analysis of current and forecast energy systems in these countries, as well as identification of the main sources of environmental impact. Comparative analysis of the LCA results showed that current and future electricity generation systems in Poland caused higher environmental impact there, than in the Czech Republic.
The assessment of the life cycle of electricity sources showed that the main determinant of the negative impact on the environment of energy systems in both Poland and the Czech Republic was the consumption of solid fuels, and in particular, the consumption of lignite. It is important to highlight that this is the first attempt of a comparative LCA of electricity production in the Czech Republic and Poland. This is also the first approach that contains analyses of the life cycle assessment of both present and future energy systems. The economic assessment and eco-efficiency of current and future electricity generation systems in European Union countries will be addressed in future research.