Abstract

Indiscriminate carbon emissions have resulted in severe ecological problems and have highlighted the need for the coal-fired power industry to pursue sustainable development. As a carbon-neutral energy resource, biomass is regarded as a promising substitute of coal to reduce carbon emissions in power generation. For the purposes of low-carbon power generation, this paper develops a bi-level programming approach to seek an optimal biomass-coal co-firing method under a carbon emissions allowance allocation scheme, in which the local government on the upper level determines the carbon emissions allowance scheme based on economic and environmental targets as the leader, and the power plants on the lower level develop power generation plans to maximize profits under the upper-level restrictions. Different from previous papers, this optimization approach fully considers the hierarchy of multiple decision makers and environmental-economic equilibrium for global optimization. A practical case in Heilongjiang Province is presented to verify the efficiency and practicality of the proposed optimization method in carbon emissions control and biomass fuel utilization. The calculation results under various scenarios are analyzed, and the analysis indicates that power plants with lower biomass utilization are more sensitive to carbon emissions constraints. It is also found that relaxed carbon emissions constraints could encourage the utilization of biomass, but strict constraints will cause adverse effects on economic development. The management recommendations derived from this method are presented to provide valuable strategy guidance for policymakers and practitioners in future planning for co-firing power generation.

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