Calculations of environmental benefits from using geothermal energy must include the rebound effect

R. S. Atlason*, R. Unnthorsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


When considering the environmental benefits from converting to renewable energy sources, the rebound effect is often omitted. In this study, the aim is to investigate greenhouse gas emission reduction inclusive of the rebound effect. We use Iceland as a case study where alternative consumption and energy production patterns are simulated using data from countries with similar environmental conditions but do not use geothermal or hydropower to the same extent as Iceland. Because of the rapid shift towards renewable energy and exclusion of external energy provision, the country is considered suitable for such a study. It was found that real emission reductions are most likely overestimated by previous calculations. Results show that between 1969 and 2014 greenhouse gas emission savings are likely to be between 164 and 361 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Between 1994 and 2014 savings are likely to be between the range of 76 and 142 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This study sheds a stronger light on the real observed environmental benefits when changes in consumption pattern are included in calculations stating greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-155
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd

Other keywords

  • Geothermal utilization
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Rebound effect
  • Sustainability


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