The EU will miss its 2050 net-zero carbon ambitions unless its policy agenda swings heavily behind renewables-based electrification, warned a new lobbying alliance that includes Europe’s wind and solar industries.
The Electrification Alliance said the bloc needs to prioritise a “robust” renewables-friendly industrial strategy, investment in networks, a rise in Horizon research funding, and deeper penetration of sectors like heating and transport.
The EU unveiled its net-zero vision last November, including an ambition to see 80% of its power coming from renewables by mid-century.
“Zero-net carbon emissions by 2050 is technically and economically feasible – but only if we get renewables to supply the bulk of our energy demand,” said Giles Dickson, chief executive of WindEurope, which along with SolarPower Europe and European power body Eurelectric joined more than 100 organisations in the Electrification Alliance.
“They’re one third of electricity today, but electricity is only 24% of our energy. We need to increase that,” Dickson added.
The alliance claimed widespread electrification has the potential to cut a European fuel import bill currently running at € 5bn ($5.5bn) a week, reduce energy consumption by up to eight times, and deliver big health benefits for EU citizens.
The Electrification Alliance also wants to see the EU deliver a “meaningful” Green Deal, which has been declared a flagship policy of incoming European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
But the bloc’s designated new energy commissioner Kadri Simson set alarm bells ringing in October when she praised the role of gas in Europe’s energy future – attracting criticism from the renewables sector and green groups.