The role of life-cycle indicators in energy planning: road transport and power
generation in Spain
Diego IRIBARREN1, Diego GARCÍA-GUSANO1, Javier DUFOUR2
1 IMDEA Energía, Spain
2 Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
The integration of life-cycle indicato rs into energy s ystems modelling (ESM) cons titutes a relevant s tep
forward for b oth Life Cycle A sses s ment (LCA) practitioners willing to perform pros pective an alys es and
energy modellers willing to move from cus tomary techno-economic s trategies to sus tainability-oriented
ones. This work presents the rationale and key features of a combined LCA + ESM method to evolve life-
cycle sustainability indicators soundly (Figure 1). In particular, two of the most important economic sectors
in Spain are proposed for the application of the method : power generation and road trans port.
The analysis of the power generation s ector is focus ed on the production s ide. In this s ense, the
optimisation-based energy model developed for Spain allows testing different energy policies related to the
implementation of e.g. emission constraints , externalities and/or renewable energy targets . Through the
endog enous integration of a number of life-cycle indicators of the production technologies into the ESM
framework, the conventional s et of prospective techno-economic res ults is significantly extended in terms
of s ustainability. This has allowed analys ts to evaluate not o nly the evolution of the electricity production
mix and the s ystem costs u nder s everal s cenarios , but also the evolution o f life-cycle indicators s uch as
human health, climate change, resources and /or ecosys tem quality.
Similar research efforts are being currently made for the road transport sector due to its high so cio-
economic and environmental relevance in Spain at the national and reg ional levels. The research activity in
this field attempts to plan a sens ible implementation of alternative fuels (biofuels, electricity, hyd rogen,
natural gas, etc.) and the asso ciated technologies by taking into account the evolution of multi-dimens ional
aspects . Overall, LCA + ESM strategies pave the way for sens ible energy roadmaps actu ally oriented to the
sus tainability goal.
Acknowledgements : The authors would like to thank the Regional Government of Madrid (S2013/MAE-
2882) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (ENE2015-74607-JIN
AEI/FEDER/UE) for financial support.
[Figure 1. Endogenous integration of life-cycle indicators into energy sy s tem models.]