Plant conversions and abatement technologies cannot prevent stranding of power plant assets in 2 °C scenarios

Aug 1, 2023

Continued fossil fuel development puts existing assets at risk of exceeding the capacity compatible with limiting global warming below 2 °C. However, it has been argued that plant conversions and new abatement technologies may allow for a smoother transition. We quantify the impact of future technology availability on the need for fossil fuel power plants to be stranded, i.e. decommissioned or underused. Even with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and bioenergy widely deployed in the future, a total of 267 PWh electricity generation (ten times global electricity production in 2018) may still be stranded. Coal-to-gas conversions could prevent 10–30 PWh of stranded generation. CCS retrofits, combined with biomass co-firing, could prevent 33–68 PWh. In contrast, lack of deployment of CCS or bioenergy could increase stranding by 69 or 45 percent respectively. Stranding risks remain under optimistic technology assumptions and even more so if CCS and bioenergy are not deployed at scale.

Publication details
Theme(s)
Carbon dioxide removal
Type(s)
Research paper
Author(s)
Smith, Steve
Year(s)
2022
Nature Communications

Latest news

Net Zero Regulation Stocktake Publishes Results 
Net Zero Regulation Stocktake Publishes Results 

A new report published by Oxford Net Zero presents a comprehensive ‘stocktake’ of developments in net-zero regulation across the G20 in 2023. It focuses primarily on four regulatory domains: claims and financial products standards, disclosure, ... Read more

New ONZ report on rolling out renewables in the Global South
New ONZ report on rolling out renewables in the Global South

The scaling up of clean electricity, and using it to decarbonise other parts of the economy, is central to all decarbonisation pathways.  In their latest report, “Rolling out renewables in the Global South”, Oxford Net Zero’s Sam Fankhauser ... Read more

Oxford Net Zero at COP28
Oxford Net Zero at COP28

The Oxford Net Zero community is mobilising its collective expertise to help drive ambition at COP28, being held in the UAE from 30 November – 12 December. Read more

See more news and events