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26 Feb 2021, 12:20
Julian Wettengel

European interconnection key for affordable CO2-free power supply by 2050 – report

Clean Energy Wire

A largely CO2-free German and European power supply by 2050 with renewable energy as the mainstay is possible and affordable, and a well-connected power market is key, says a report by Connect Energy Economics, commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA). The consultancy assessed ten scenarios with ambitious CO2 targets and found that all possible paths are marked by great technological diversity, high flexibility and a comprehensive use of the advantages of a European internal electricity market. “The great renewables potential across Europe can be used in combination with a comprehensive expansion of the power grid,” the report says. The results underline the potential of the European grid as a cheap, effective and flexible option for the decarbonisation of the power supply, said the report. It states that renewables will cover almost all of power consumption by 2050. CO2-free synthetic gases are needed in all scenarios “as one important puzzle piece” to reach climate targets efficiently, but their total share in power supply remains low (0.8-3.5% of net power consumption), the report says.

The lion’s share of Europe’s energy system is still based on fossil fuels today. However, the European Commission expects this to radically change with the large-scale electrification of the energy system driven by the deployment of renewables, as the EU aims to become climate-neutral by 2050. Europe’s potential for renewable energy varies significantly depending on the geological and geographical conditions in individual regions. While each country has to expand its renewables capacity, cooperation and transport of energy from one part of the continent to another will be key in a future system based largely on renewables.

Graph shows European power system by 2050, different scenarios. Source: UBA / Connect Energy Economics.
Source: UBA / Connect Energy Economics.
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