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EU electricity on fast-track to carbon neutrality

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Two thirds of EU electricity was carbon free in 2020. Within a decade this will rise to 85%. An integrated electricity market is essential so all countries can benefit from the cleanest electricity in history.

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BRUSSELS, Sept. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine policy measures can put Europe's economy on a steady path to net-zero, highlights Eurelectric's Power Barometer 2021, an analysis of industry-wide trends in the EU power sector.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF and Eurelectric's President said:

"With the Fit for 55 Package, Europe's electricity could be carbon free five to ten years earlier than previously anticipated, thus helping transport, heating and industries accelerate their decarbonisation. We are ready and committed to play a leading role and deliver the carbon-free electricity needed for achieving the Green Deal's ambition".

Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric's Secretary General added:

"To deliver on the ambition, it is critical to have the right investment signals and remove all barriers stalling progress. Especially permitting lead times for new power projects must be shortened as a matter of priority."

However, in less than a decade, electricity capacity must increase by 27% versus 2020. This corresponds to a 93% growth in renewable capacity, achievable only if Europe's permitting processes radically change.

Investment must ramp up to close the ambition gap. By 2030, investments in distribution must double the average of last decade to €55bn annually, whereas clean generation capacities need €75bn per annum. Key enablers will be: predictable market-based frameworks; a functioning Emissions Trading System; modernised network tariffs, and comprehensive regulation for flexibility solutions, like battery storage.

Electrification of end-use sectors must grow at warp speed. Unless annual emission reductions nearly triple to 160 MT CO2-equivalent, the 55% greenhouse gas emissions reduction target will be met by 2045 – 15 years too late. The key to these decarbonisation objectives is increasing electrification rates to minimum 33% of the economy by 2030, up from today's 23%.

Taxes and levies applied to electricity must also be reduced. Having risen 29% since 2010, they burden consumers seeking to adopt carbon-free alternatives for transport, heating and cooling, and industrial processes. EU policymakers must end this to allow for the tripling of electric heat pumps to 45 million and bring the EVs market share to 60%, up from 10% in 2020, as the Fit for 55 Package intends.

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