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Title: The implications of the Paris Agreement on electric power systems transitions : technoeconomic and sociopolitical assessments of the United Kingdom and Nigeria
Author: Daggash, Habiba Ahut
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 2322
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2020
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The electrification of the global energy system is cited as necessary to transform economies away from fossil fuel dependence at least-cost because of increasingly cheap intermittent renewable energy sources (iRES). Consequently, power sector decarbonisation is expected to be critical to delivering the Paris Agreement which seeks to limit global warming to "well-below 2°C" by 2100. Integrated Assessment Models that assess global decarbonisation pathways fail to do so at national-scale. This thesis investigates the power system transitions needed to meet the UK and Nigeria’s commitments to the Paris accord. For the UK, we find that the least-cost systems that deliver decarbonisation are dominated by baseload and dispatchable low-carbon generation complemented by carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, with limited expansion of iRES. It was found that CDR deployment could reduce decarbonisation costs by up to 48%. In the long-term, centralised systems consisting of large-scale thermal generation (mostly CCS) and extensive transmission infrastructure are cost-optimal, thus current policies pursuing decentralisation may lead to overbuilt and obsolete systems. For Nigeria, we find that the least-cost systems are dominated by natural gas and hydroelectric generation. Such a system was found to have emissions that were significantly lower than the power sector’s carbon budget. This surplus carbon budget could be traded to offset the emissions of other sectors or countries via carbon offsetting mechanisms. The UK utilises expensive CDR to meet its targets, however the purchase of emissions offsets from developing countries such as Nigeria could prove cheaper, and be a vital source of financing for developing countries. In both countries, iRES were found to play a non-central role in meeting NDCs. Their low availability and variability means that significant capacity coupled with energy storage is required and this proves particularly costly in a context where both power generation and CDR are required.
Supervisor: Mac Dowell, Niall Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral