Brussels, Belgium — Green energy can help Europe regain a competitive advantage in the international technology race, while cutting ballooning fuel costs, creating jobs and slashing carbon emissions. These are the findings of a new study commissioned by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and launched today in Brussels.
The third edition of the EU Energy [R]evolution shows that a drive for renewables and energy efficiency can ensure that the EU does not fall behind China and the United States in green technological innovation. The study, carried out by the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), demonstrates that 97% of Europe's electricity and 92% of its total energy use could come from renewables in 2050, cutting CO2 emissions by 95% with no need for nuclear power or carbon capture and storage. Even taking into account investment costs, savings on fossil fuels would save European economies an average of €19 billion every year up to 2050. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs would also boost EU economies.
Greenpeace EU energy policy adviser Frauke Thies said: "40 years ago, renewables were a dream; today, they are a reality; 40 years from now they should be the norm. Moving towards 100% renewables in 2050 doesn't just make sense for the climate, it's smart for the economy too. Coal and nuclear energy are dead weights for innovation, but renewables can deliver new technologies, jobs and energy security. To unlock this potential, the Commission must study the benefits and feasibility of a 100% green energy future".
While the EU considers its vision for energy and the economy in 2050, China and the United States are moving ahead in the development of innovation and energy independence. China has in fact already overtaken Europe in the installation of renewable energy technologies. The development of efficiency and renewable energy technologies within a modern power grid could help create a robust and clean economy in Europe.
EREC Secretary-General Christine Lins said: "The Energy Revolution report demonstrates that it is technologically feasible to achieve 100% renewables in 2050 and reap its many benefits for the environment and Europe's economy, while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. All that is missing to bring about a truly sustainable energy future for Europe is political will".
When compared to other EU energy roadmaps for 2050, the Energy [R]evolution is ambitious, but based on realistic assumptions that can deliver flexible energy which is closer to local businesses and communities. A secure and balanced mix of energy sources for Europe's energy system makes the Energy [R]evolution the most sustainable and credible blueprint for a genuine energy revolution.
To make the Energy [R]evolution a reality, the EU must fulfil its ambition on climate change, stop massive subsidies for fossil fuels and actively support the creation of a strong and clean economy.
For a press briefing on the Energy [R]evolution report, click here
For the full report, click here
For a comparison of EU Energy Roadmaps, click here