International Reference Center for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services, conducted a study focused on how different power generation options and electricity mixes compare in terms of their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.
The Center offers preparation of expert assessments which determine and quantify the environmental impact of a product, process or service over its entire life cycle.
The findings suggest that the greenhouse gas emission rate of hydropower is similar to that of wind and nuclear power and significantly lower the other power generations: 5 times lower than photovoltaic energy and 50 times lower than a coal-fired thermal plant.
Considering several indicators such as:
- Climat change;
- Ozone layer depletion;
- Eutrophication and oxidation;
Hydroelectric Power Plants are known to be the power generator with the smallest environmental impact. In parallel thermal generation using non-renewable sources are identified as the generation option with the strongest environmental impact, due to the extraction, transformation and use of fuels.
The study shows that the countries with a high proportion of hydropower in the energy mix, such as Norway, which has the highest hydropower generation intensity per capita, are among the countries which have the lowest greenhouse gas emission rate.