Electrification – A Winning Strategy to Decarbonise Europe

19 April 2017

Electrification of sectors such as transport and heating/cooling will bring tangible benefits for the European society, economically and environmentally, as well as in terms of benefits for consumers. That is the conclusion of the report A Bright Future for Europe published today at a stakeholder conference in Brussels hosted by EURELECTRIC.

 

Falling carbon footprint

The report shows that electricity in the EU has reduced its carbon footprint by 35% since 1990 - a decarbonisation pace significantly higher than all other major energy carriers. And current policy reforms are set to accelerate the decarbonisation of electricity further.


As electricity becomes increasingly clean, it provides a key part of the solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors such as transport, and heating and cooling.

 

“The recipe for clean energy to all Europeans really has one key ingredient: It is power to the people,” said Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of EURELECTRIC.

“Electrification holds a huge potential for Europe. Switching to electricity will not only reduce CO2 and oil imports. It will also give us better cities with cleaner air," Ruby added.

 

Big potential for other sectors

A Bright Future for Europe analyses the potential impacts of electrification beyond the power sector - in transport as well as heating/cooling and provides policy recommendations for how to maximise the benefits for European society and consumers.

 

In the transport sector, switching to electricity is already a no-regret option for emission reductions today. Based on today’s average European electricity mix, an EV is responsible for less than 50g CO2/km. This is significantly below the EU target of 95g by 2020, and only a fraction of the carbon emissions produced by even the most efficient internal combustion engine cars available on the market today. 

 

But policy measures such as ambitious emission targets for cars and vans, separate zero-emission car targets, improved test cycles and charging infrastructure requirements are necessary to ensure emission reductions and further deployment of EVs.

 

In the heating and cooling sector, the scope for further emission abatement is significant. And so is the scope for economic benefits. According to the report, increased use of electricity in heating and cooling could open the door to energy import savings of €44.7 bln per annum.

 

In order to harvest the benefits, a level playing field between energy carriers is needed, however. The legislation must revise and differentiate between the primary energy factors for different energy sources. New and innovative finance instruments should be developed to accelerate deployment of heat pumps and similar technologies.

 

Background: 

The Union of the Electricity Industry, EURELECTRIC, is the sector association representing the common interests of the electricity industry at pan-European level. EURELECTRIC represents 3500 companies across Europe with an aggregate turnover of €200 bln. It covers all major issues affecting the sector, from electricity generation and markets, to distribution networks, customers, as well as environment and sustainability issues.

Contact

  • Anamaria OLARU

    Communication & PA Coordinator
    Press & Media Relations

    Tel.: +32 2 515 10 71