Energy-efficiency and storage schemes make 100% renewable electricity feasible, say EU green industry chiefs

The EU Green Atlas to 100% renewable electricity supply
The EU Green Atlas to 100% renewable electricity supply, showing the ‘old’ fossil-fuel system on the left and the re-newable system on the right.

High levels of energy efficiency and stronger energy interconnections across Europe make a 100% renewable energy system possible.

The biggest potential lies in increasing efficiency. Europe-wide, society could reduce its energy demand by half by 2050 – which means less renewable energy needs to be provided or stored.

Connecting sectors, such as heat, cooling, electricity, and electric transport would unlock the storage potential of water in heating systems along with potentially millions of batteries in electric cars.

And – according to the Federation of European Renewables – the switch to 100% renewables entails energy system change away from centralised monopolistic utilities to decentralised community and citizen based renewable power projects and innovative business models.

The new Energy Atlas – co-published by Friends of the Earth Europe, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, and the Green European Foundation –  also reveals that:

  • Technology now available makes a 100% renewable energy system viable – with today’s smart energy storage, sector connections, and demand response tools helping to overcome the longstanding renewable energy challenge of variable supply;
  • Cities and consumers are at the vanguard of Europe’s energy transition – which is seeing Europe’s energy shift to greater democratisation and decentralisation. Close to 1,000 local leaders are committed to carbon neutral cities by mid-century, and 42% of renewables in Germany are owned by citizens and cooperatives
  • An economic transformation is taking place, with more Europeans now employed in well-paying and secure jobs in the renewables sector than are employed in the coal industry.

Dörte Fouquet, Director of the European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), commented: “This Energy Atlas confirms that a 100% only renewable energy system for Europe is viable.

“But the proposed 2030 renewable energy and energy efficiency targets within the EU Clean Energy Package are far too modest, particularly given the falling technology costs and the availability of new renewables technology. European leaders must now make good on their promises to honour their commitments of the Paris Agreement.”

The launch comes as EU energy ministers, MEPs and EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete reach a crunch point in negotiations on the next generation of energy legislation – talks that will be decisive for Europe’s energy transition going into one of the last-chance decades for climate change action.

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25 Apr 2018

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