Widely known as the largest contributor to global carbon emissions, electricity sector has always been considered as a top priority for carbon emission reduction. Global energy interconnection (or, connecting power grids in different nations) could be one of the important measures to maximize the use of renewable/clean energy in different nations. However, its effects in carbon emission reduction have not well studied in a quantitative way. Taking North America as an example, this study uses a bottom-up energy system optimization model to study the carbon emission reduction effects of different interconnection scenarios. To capture the multiple possibilities of energy interconnection, we set up two scenarios for electricity demand: high and low; and two scenarios for power grid interconnection, weak connection and strong connection. The power electricity supply in different nations will change because of the different interconnection scenarios, which will make the CO2 emission generated by electricity go up or down. When considering the power substitution and strong connection scenario, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by as much as 48% compared with the weak connection scenario.
Keywords Global Energy Interconnection, CO2 emission, North America