ETC/ATNI Report 6/2020: Development of Renewable Energy and its Impact on Air Quality. Co-benefits and Trade-Offs.

The current study aims at evaluating the impact of anthropogenic emission changes on air quality and human health by using the air quality model CHIMERE. This is a continuation of the work initiated in the European Topic Centre on Climate Change Mitigation and Energy (ETC/CME; report 2019/8) on the effect of the development of renewable energy sources (RES) since 2005 on emissions of anthropogenic air pollutants.

16 Mar 2021

Prepared by:

Florian Couvidat (INERIS), Susana Lopez-Aparicio (NILU), Simone Schucht  (INERIS), Elsa Real (INERIS), Henrik Grythe (NILU)

According to the simulation results using emissions based on official data, significant increases of particulate matter concentrations exceeding 1 µg/m3 were found for some countries, linked primarily to the increase in residential wood burning when comparing 2005 with 2016. Exceptions were Portugal and Greece (two countries that decreased their use of biomass for heating). At the scale of the EU27+UK, in 2016, the interplay between emission increases due to biomass use and emission decreases due to all other RES growth is estimated to be responsible for around 9 200 premature deaths and 97 000 years of life lost. As such, the increase in solid biomass heating alone, (due particularly to the high emissions of fine particulate matter from domestic stoves), is estimated to be responsible for an increase of around 10 700 premature deaths and 113 000 years of life lost in 2016. These premature deaths could have been prevented by promoting the development of other RES than solid biomass heating.