Greening EU power supply: hit “panic button” now, not in 2049, says MEP

The European green energy community came together last Wednesday for the launch of a new report commissioned by the Smart Energy for Europe Platform set to be the new ‘study of studies’ on greening Europe’s power supply. According to Sir Graham Watson MEP, the study shows there is an urgent need to ramp up renewables now, while a delay could be detrimental to global development.
Greening EU power supply: hit “panic button” now, not in 2049, says MEP

As we reported last week, the report compares and contrasts EU energy roadmaps to 2050 authored by organisations such as Greenpeace and the electricity industry, the European Climate Foundation and finally – the one that counts – the European Commission.

Sir Graham Watson MEP, who is the Chairman of a global network of MPs and MEPs from all mainstream political parties campaigning to increase government investment in renewable energy and electricity supergrids called the Climate Parliament, as well as a UK Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the ELDR party, is hosting the launch. At the event, he will say:

“What this report shows more than ever is that we need to bring the ‘panic button’ forward – and not hit it in 2049. It also highlights that there is still no consensus on nuclear and CCS. Is nuclear clean power or pushing the emissions further up the chain? Is banking on CCS becoming viable in the next 15 years a sound bet for humanity – or will necessity once again prove to be the mother of invention?,” says Watson.

The report, entitled "Decarbonisation scenarios leading to the EU energy roadmap 2050" concludes that what is agreed is that we need to push forward on energy efficiency and electric vehicles, invest in research to bring down the cost of renewables and adapt our grids to fluctuating energy sources.

“The Climate Parliament group in the European Parliament is trying to put the theory into practise in the next EU budget. But what the report doesn’t say is that we can do EU energy roadmaps until we are blue in the face and it will make no difference global climate change. We need to grab the window of opportunity to ‘lock in’ green growth in developing countries now,” Sir Graham concludes.

The authors conclude that there are a few technologies and strategies in the electricity sector, which are key in any mitigation pathway. This consensus especially concerns the need for stronger improvements in energy efficiency to reduce future increases in electricity demand and the rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies, especially onshore and offshore wind. Disagreements in the scenarios analysed mostly deal with the two mitigation options Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and nuclear energy.

The level of public acceptance towards these technologies, their future costs (especially compared to renewable energy technologies) and in the case of CCS also the technological feasibility is assessed differently in the scenario studies considered here. Despite the differences in the scenarios, the analysis makes clear that political action is needed today to ensure that there will be no delays in the transition towards a sustainable energy system.

One reason for this is because major infrastructural changes are required in regard to the electricity grid and any such measures (especially building storage facilities and new transmission lines) are characterised by considerable lead times. The same holds true for the more controversial and uncertain mitigation option of CCS, which would require a significant pipeline infrastructure and ready‐to‐use CO2 storage sites. As long as uncertainty about such key infrastructural changes remains, investments will likely not be sufficient to realise any ambitious mitigation pathway.

For additional information:

Decarbonisation scenarios leading to the EU energy roadmap 2050

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