Europe needs to double electricity share to meet climate goals – EU official

(EurActiv, 8 Nov 2019) The European Green Deal to be unveiled in early 2020 will pursue a strategy of increasing the share of electricity in the EU’s energy mix, the new head of the European Commission’s energy department told a conference in Brussels Wednesday (6 November).

“First assessments show we need to double the share of electricity in energy consumption by 2050,” Ditte Juul-Jørgensen said at an event organised by the Electrification Alliance, an industry consortium.

The commission has envisioned this transition as critical to its plan to get the EU to net-zero emissions by 2050. 53% of Europe’s energy needs would be met by electricity generated from renewables and nuclear by mid-century according to the strategy.

It is hoped that EU countries will approve the 2050 plan at the next European Council summit on 12 December. Poland and its Eastern European allies, which have vetoed the plan up till now, may drop its opposition in exchange for funding through a just transition fund. The European Green Deal, expected in March, would then set out a plan for meeting this goal.

Gas and sector integration

Juul-Jørgensen, whose words are being closely watched in Brussels for signs of where energy policy might be going in the new Commission, said that cleaner fossil fuels will have a role to play in generating this electricity in the medium-term.

“We need to distinguish between different fossil fuels,” she said. “They all have a significant carbon imprint, but if you compare greenhouse gas emissions from different types, there are differences. There are less emissions coming from gas than from coal, if we have methane leaks under control.”

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EurActiv, 8 Nov 2019: Europe needs to double electricity share to meet climate goals – EU official