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International Society for Environmental Information Sciences

Environmental Informatics Archives

ISSN 1811-0231 / ISEIS Publication Series Number P002

Copyright © 2006 ISEIS. All rights reserved.



  Paper EIA06-044, Volume 4 (2006), Pages 475-482 = complimentary

External costs of electricity generation in China

S. Y. Ding1, Q. Y. Zhang1*, W. G. Xu1, H. Guo1, S. L. Xiong1 and H. Jiang2

1. Environmental and Resource Sciences College of ZheJiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China. *Corresponding author: dshy336@163.com.

2. Information Science and Engineering College of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China.



External costs of electricity are important because they represent costs to society that are not typically reflected in the price that consumers pay for electricity. During the last decade, a series of valuation studies have made attempts to estimate the external environmental costs of various power generation sources within the European Union and the United States, while few studies have been conducted in developing countries such as China. With the rapid development of China, the electricity supply sector undergoes increasingly rapid restructuring, and technology and fuel choices widen therefore, understanding the environmental implications of investment choices becomes even more important in China. The object of this paper is to expand previous analysis of the external costs of electric power generation in China, to present a quantitative analysis of air pollution impacts on human health, damages from greenhouse gas emissions, avoided health costs from electrification, the impacts on crops and materials, as well as discussing other impacts qualitatively. Using economic theories, pollutants calculation methods and pollutants’ environmental costs, this paper developed a model (“the external cost of electricity generation model in China”). According to the economic conditions and population density, the model divided China into six regions. This model can calculate environmental costs of electricity generation with available data of power plants. This paper provides a detailed external costs analysis for the Guiyang power plant with a coal combustion which is in Guizhou province in southwest of china, The results show that the external costs from new energy power generation such as wind, PV, hydro, nuclear, biomass are lower, while the environmental costs of electricity generation based on coal, oil, and gas, each of which is 0.2176RMB/(kW?h),0.213RMB/(kW?h) and 0.0686RMB/(kW?h)in the east of China. The results suggest: electricity industry in china should improve the technology and pay more attention on protecting the environment in order to implement the sustainable development.

Keywords: external costs, electricity generation, power plant, cost model


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