Projected life cycle land use of fossil, nuclear and renewable electricity systems in 2030 (m2/GJel)

Figure Created 15 Aug 2013 Published 15 Aug 2013 Last modified 16 Aug 2013
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The graph illustrates that energy systems differ in the extent and complexity of their impacts by presenting the projected life cycle land use of fossil, nuclear and renewable electricity systems in 2030. To understand the implications of increased bioenergy production, it is important to recognise that the land used for energy cropping is a natural resource, comprising soil, minerals, water and biota. Where bioenergy involves energy cropping it often necessitates changes to land use, with significant implications for related systems as well Other renewable technologies do also use some land and so do fossil and nuclear systems but the area is comparatively small. Nevetheless these technologies have other limitations.

European data


Additional information

  • SNG = substitute natural gas; cogen = cogeneration; SRC= short-rotation coppice; CC= combined-cycle; ICE= internal combustion engine; PV= photovoltaic; CSP= concentrating solar power.
  • The 2030 time horizon was chosen to include advanced bioenergy technologies such as bio-SNG, and solar CSP. The reasoning behind the calculations (including the assumptions regarding technologies available in 2030) is set out in ETC/ SIA (2013). Note that potential ILUC effects of bioenergy systems are excluded here.


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Temporal coverage




Filed under: land use, bioenergy, life cycle
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