A report from European Climate Foundation: renewables could cover 61% of the European electricity sector by 2030

Today, European Climate Foundation launches a new report in their Energy Union Choices series. ’Cleaner, Smarter, Cheaper: Responding to Opportunities in Europe’s Changing Energy System’ explores three scenarios on energy transition in the European Union: Incomplete Plans scenario, Current Plans scenario focusing on regional cooperation, and Opportunity scenario implementing additional policies. These scenarios are compared with EUCO30 scenario, which models the achievement of the 2030 climate and energy targets as proposed by the European Council in 2014 with a 30% energy efficiency target.

The main findings show that not only is a faster decarbonisation of the energy sector technically and economically more feasible, but the pathway with the deepest emission cuts is the cheapest option and comes with the highest employment benefits. The Opportunity scenario suggests that an additional 36% reduction of emissions in the power sector by 2030 is possible at reduced system cost, all while increasing net jobs by 90 000. Moreover, the report demonstrates that sufficient flexibility options exist to integrate considerably higher shares of renewables electricity in 2030 than currently projected: according to the Opportunity scenario, RES-e can grow to 61% of net production across Europe, which is well above the 49% RES-e in EUCO30 (based on a 27% overall RES target). The role of gas generation flexibility in system balancing will also decrease, resulting from better performing renewable energy sources, transmission grids and demand-side flexibility – even when combined with retiring coal plants in several Member States. Finally, the report depicts that interdependency between Member States will most likely increase.

Based on the main findings, the report recommends policy measures additional to the Clean Energy Package in order to exploit the decreasing technology costs and new flexibility options. It proposes increasing RES targets on EU and national level, deepening regional integration of energy markets, focusing on demand response policies for smart electrification, developing national plans to manage the swift retirement of inflexible generation, and revisiting the perspective for critical energy infrastructure needs in Europe. The report further suggests that for a better outcome, more transparency is needed in the policy-making process.

Next week’s vote in ITRE committee will be crucial to show higher ambition in renewables for 2030 and agree on the most efficient governance system: national binding targets.

You can find the report here.

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