The 2012 EU Energy [R]evolution report, carried out for Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council by the German National Centre for Aerospace, Energy and Transport Research, demonstrates how Europe would gain nearly half a million extra energy sector jobs by 2020 if it prioritises a system largely made up of renewables and energy efficiency over nuclear power and fossil fuels. Other benefits include long-term savings for consumers and improved climate stability.
The expert consensus is that a fundamental shift in the way we consume and generate energy must begin immediately and be well underway within the next ten years in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The scale of the challenge requires a complete transformation of the way we produce, consume and distribute energy, while maintaining economic growth.
The five key principles behind this Energy [R]evolution will be to:
• Implement renewable solutions, especially through decentralised energy systems and grid expansions
• Respect the natural limits of the environment
• Phase out dirty, unsustainable energy sources
• Create greater equity in the use of resources
• Decouple economic growth from the consumption of fossil fuels
Decentralised energy systems, where power and heat are produced close to the point of final use, reduce grid loads and energy losses in distribution. Investments in 'climate infrastructure' such as smart interactive grids and transmission grids to transport large quantities of offshore wind and concentrated solar power are essential. Building up clusters of renewable micro grids, especially for people living in remote areas, will be a central tool in providing sustainable electricity to the almost two billion people around the world who currently do not have access to electricity.
The Reference scenario is based on the Current Policies scenarios published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in World Energy Outlook 2011 (WEO 2011). It only takes existing international energy and environmental policies into account.
As the IEA's projections only extend to 2035, they have been extended by extrapolating their key macroeconomic and energy indicators forward to 2050. This provides a baseline for comparison with the Energy [R]evolution scenario.
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