Keywords: public health, health impact assessment, environmental impact assessment, external costs, air pollution, China, cost-benefit analysis, coal, energy technology, electricity supply, life cycle analysis, LCA, sustainable development, natural gas, nuclear power, nuclear energy, power supply
Health and environmental impacts of China's current and future electricity supply, with associated external costs
This paper summarises the results of the assessment of health and environmental impacts, and the corresponding external costs within the China Energy Technology Program (CETP). China faces an enormous challenge, as it needs to meet the growing demand for energy in general and electricity in particular. Coal is, and will most probably remain for a long time, the dominant energy carrier in China, and its continued use causes enormous damage to public health and the environment. Such damage backfires on the rate of economic growth. As demonstrated in the present work, the total (internal plus external) costs of environment-friendly electricity supply strategies are significantly lower than those of the seemingly cheaper, but 'dirty' and nonsustainable, strategies based on traditional coal technologies. As demonstrated by the detailed analyses carried out for the Shandong province, cost-efficient reduction of health and environmental damages, and of the corresponding external costs, can be achieved by implementation of scrubbers and other 'clean-coal' technologies, together with fuel diversification and promotion of efficiency.