Brussels, 14 April 2010 – The European Climate Foundation (ECF) has just released a major study on how the EU can achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. The report finds that decarbonisation of the energy sector is crucial to achieving this ambitious target. Such a move would have knock-on effects in both road transport and buildings, the other two key sectors in climate change action.
According to the study European policy priorities should be three-ways: a fully-interconnected grid, energy efficiency and energy market reform.
The study offers a novel perspective on the issue, proposing a clear path towards achieving these objectives and paving the way for pragmatic debate. The only similar study so far was published by Eurelectric last year. The ECF research also finds that such measures would be technically feasible and economically viable. Furthermore grid reliability would be maintained at its current levels.
The study models four different scenarios: a 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% renewable penetration by 2050. Remaining non-renewable energy supply in all models is provided by Carbon Capture and Storage and nuclear.
Key to the study is grid interconnection which would efficiently allocate the resource amongst European partners, whilst reducing the demand for storage. Part of this proposal would include a giant 47 Gigawatt interconnection between Spain and France. The ECF foresees that Spain would become Europe’s main producer of renewable whilst other countries notably France and Germany would play a complementary role in providing grid base power through nuclear and other non-renewables.
Further measures will also be needed to achieve the 2050 goal. Doubling the pace of energy efficiency improvements along with binding legislation and targets are part of the package proposed by ECF.
The measure will require a significant increase in capital expenditure on energy infrastructure. Twice the current amount ECF authors suggest. Such policies have already been promoted at the EU level with Gunther Oettinger (Head of DG Energy), promising increased expenditure in green energy. However ambitious targets will require considerable efforts at the national level.