EU Energy Roadmap 2050 sees natural gas, renewables as 'critical'
London (Platts)--15Dec2011/614 am EST/1114 GMT
Natural gas and renewables have been identified as "critical" energy
sources to 2050 in each of the seven scenarios outlined by the European
Commission in its Energy Roadmap 2050 published Thursday.
"Gas will be critical for the transformation of the energy system," the
EC said in a statement.
"Renewables move center stage. The share of renewable energy rises
substantially in all decarbonization scenarios, achieving at least 55% in
gross final energy consumption in 2050," it said.
The EU wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80-95% below 1990
levels by 2050. The roadmap outlines seven different scenarios under which
this target could be achieved.
"Every scenario is based on a different energy mix, combining varying
shares of renewables and the importance given to energy efficiency and new
technologies such as CCS," the EC said.
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Following the Japanese Fukushima nuclear disaster in March the future of
nuclear energy in Europe has become a politically sensitive issue. The EC's
roadmap scenarios include delayed carbon capture and storage with the share
of nuclear energy in primary energy consumption amounting to 18% and a low
nuclear with higher shares of CCS, around 32% in power generation.
The EC said that irrespective of the energy mix chosen, the demand for
renewable energy would grow, energy savings would be crucial, the role for
electricity would increase, capital investment would increase, and fossil fuel
expenditure would decrease.
The analysis shows that if Europe continues with its current policies,
the total energy system cost -- including fuel, electricity and capital costs,
investment in equipment, energy efficient products -- could represent 14.6%
percent of European GDP in 2050 compared with 10.5% in 2005.
"By describing these scenarios and also their impact on costs and
prices, it should help countries to make the necessary policy choices," the
"If the political choices are not made, there is uncertainty and much
needed investments will be delayed. In the energy sector, investments are
made for a period between 20 and 60 years," it added.
NO MENTION OF 2030 RENEWABLES TARGET
While there are no specific references to setting any renewable energy
targets for 2030 in the roadmap, the EC does make clear the need for a stable
renewables investment environment beyond 2030.
"In the case of renewables, investment needs beyond 2030 are
considerably higher than in the case of the other scenarios. This is due to
increased storage needs, extension of the grid and back up facilities such as
gas power stations," it said.
"Most of these investments will come after 2030 due to the sharp
increase of renewables in the same period of time. This means also higher
electricity prices," it added.
The EC launched a consultation on December 7 on whether on not the EU
should set renewable energy targets for 2030.
But initial analysis of the energy roadmap by Green lawmakers in the
European Parliament say the EU will face an uphill struggle in securing a
"The resistance against a 2030 target is huge, especially among the
European energy giants. In order to achieve the 20% renewable energy target
by 2020, renewables would have a share of about 35% in the electricity
sector. In 2030, they would then account for a share of 55-65% in the
electricity mix," Luxembourg Green member of the European Parliament Claude
But Turmes said the final text announced Thursday was more optimistic
about renewable energy and energy efficiency than earlier drafts, which the
Greens had criticized for implicitly favoring nuclear energy and carbon
capture and storage. He said the final text was more lukewarm on these.
"It shows -- at least between the lines -- that the hope for early
breakthrough of CCS technology has been given up by EU Commission," Turmes
said in emailed comments.
--Rachel Morison, email@example.com
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