Power sector eyes zero emissions by 2045

EUROPE: European electricity generators could cut their net CO2 emissions to zero by 2045 given sufficient political will and support from citizens, the trade association Eurelectric said in a detailed study.

Eurelectric said a 95% cut in emissions would require a 60% electrification of Europe's energy system
Eurelectric said a 95% cut in emissions would require a 60% electrification of Europe's energy system

First published on Ends Europe

The report, which Eurelectric vice-president Alistair Phillips-Davies described as a unanimously backed "statement of intent", puts a more precise date on the industry's commitment to decarbonise before 2050.

"We wanted to get into detail and have a robust analysis on which to base future policy discussions," the group's secretary general Kristian Ruby told reporters in Brussels.

The transition would require average annual investment of €89bn to €111bn in renewables generation and transmission infrastructure but will lead to power prices of €70 and €75/MWh, significantly lower than European Commission's most recent estimate of €105/MWh.

Generators say electricity will be the key energy vector in a net-zero emissions EU economy.

The 95% cut in emissions by mid-century compared to 1990 would require a 60% electrification of Europe's energy system — including the total electrification of road transport.

The bulk of the remaining 40% of Europe's energy needs would be met by other sources of renewable energy, such as the use of geothermal or direct solar energy for heating, industry representatives said.

Eurelectric's net-zero emissions scenario sees coal providing only 0.005% of Europe's electricity by 2045 — compared to roughly a fifth last year — but the group called on policy makers to plough money into a "just transition" in areas whose economy is based largely on coal.

Eurelectric plans to present its analysis to European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic on 27 November, the eve of the publication of the EU executive's long-term strategy to slash net CO2 emissions by mid-century.

Ruby said the power sector was ready for the drastic transition envisaged in its report, and said it was crucial the 2050 strategy provide generators with "clarity on the direction and ambition" of EU climate policy.

First published on Ends Europe

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