The National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the US Department of Energy has recently published a detailed harmonized lifecycle analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions of various energy sources. In summary, the results show that:
- all renewable and nuclear sources of energy supply except for the worst cases of biopower perform very significantly better than natural gas, oil, and coal.
- the range of possible emission scenarios for biopower, photovoltaics, and nuclear is greater than the range for concentrating solar, geothermal, hydro, ocean, and wind.
- the median of GHG emissions data for concentrating solar, hydro, ocean, and wind is significantly lower than that for biopower, photovoltaics, geothermal, and nuclear.
- post-combustion carbon capture and sequestration has the potential to bring total lifecycle GHG emissions within the upper 25th percent of the range of several renewable technologies.