Energy utilities prepare to deliver new 2030 climate target

(EurActiv, 21 Dec 2020) Now that the EU has raised its 2030 emissions reduction target from 40% to 55%, questions are being asked about how utility operators can make the changes necessary to transform the energy system.

After marathon eight-hour negotiations that went until the early hours of the morning, EU prime ministers and presidents agreed on 10 December to a European Commission proposal to raise the union’s 2030 target for reducing emissions to 55% below 1990 levels, up from a previous target of -40%.

The target will still need to be agreed early next year with the European Parliament, which wants to raise the target to -60%. But it is already clear that Europe’s energy system is going to have to transform faster than originally envisaged, to meet the 2050 target of completely decarbonising down to net zero.

This will require new energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydrogen, and perhaps others we don’t know about yet. All of those new energy sources will have to be integrated into the EU’s energy grid, and that task will fall to Europe’s energy utility operators.

Right now there are two main concerns: preparing the grid for intermittent renewable energy supply, and updating gas pipelines to be capable of transporting hydrogen as a baseline fuel.

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EurActiv, 21 Dec 2020: Energy utilities prepare to deliver new 2030 climate target