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Power sector decarbonisation is gaining pace in the EU. Updated key indicators show that political action and financing is needed to ensure additional investments and electrification of other sectors.
Europe’s deep decarbonisation ambitions have set in motion a complete transformation of the way we generate and consume electricity. Carbon neutral sources are quickly becoming the norm for power generation. However, a new set of key indicators – the Power Barometer published today by Eurelectric – shows that further political action is needed to ensure timely decarbonisation of other end-use sectors such as transport, heating and energy-intensive industries.
Accelerating power sector decarbonisation
In the power sector, decarbonisation is gaining pace. In 2018, 58% of all electricity produced in the EU was carbon-neutral. This trend is continuing and deepening in 2019. And by 2030, 75% of all power generation is expected to be carbon-neutral. In the same timeframe, the balance of the remaining fossil capacity will tip towards gas as a consequence of an accelerated coal phase-out, further reducing CO2-intensity. Increased investments will be needed to reach agreed goals for renewables, however, and the evolution of firm capacity to ensure security of supply should be monitored closely.
Grid investments will also need to be significantly ramped up in order to serve a more complex power system that connects large amounts of decentralised generation with an increasing number of electric vehicles, heat pumps and other grid-edge technologies. A new tariff structure will be needed to allow for these investments and give customers the right incentives.
“Power sector decarbonisation is on fast-forward. But we need to see additional investments in both generation and grids in order to stay on track”, said Kristian Ruby, Secretary General of Eurelectric.
Increased action needed for transport electrification
Additional investments will also be needed to decarbonise other energy using sectors such as heating, industry and transport. To fully decarbonise the European energy system, the share of electricity in total energy consumption must almost triple – from 22% today to at least 60% by 2050.
In particular the transport sector needs to see change. Today, only 1% of energy used in transport is electric. That needs to increase to 63% to achieve full decarbonisation. With the already agreed CO2-standards for cars and vans, some 30-40 million electric cars are expected by 2030. This will need to be accompanied by a corresponding acceleration of charging infrastructure roll-out. The amount of publicly available charging points needs to grow more than 20-fold over the next 10 years.
“In road transport we need a political push and financing support to roll out the necessary charging infrastructure. And, we should instil a right-to-plug to make the switch to electric as simple and as convenient as possible for consumers”, Kristian Ruby added.
Note to Editors: Eurelectric’s Power Barometer draws a parallel between the current state of the energy system and the power sector’s potential for decarbonisation. Based on solid facts and figures, the Barometer makes recommendations on eight elements that are essential for a successful energy transition. The full analysis will be presented to the Members of the European Parliament, during a dedicated event, in Strasbourg.