Phasing out fossil fuel power is essential
Activists helping out with the much-needed phase-out. Flickr.com / Tim Wagner cc-by
The EU should seize the opportunity to replace ageing and end-of-life coal-fired plants with renewable energy sources.
Significant changes will be needed in the member states’ energy-generating mix if the European Union is to meet its goal to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80–95 per cent by 2050, according to a recent European Environment Agency (EEA) report. While the European Union has made progress in improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources, a well-planned transition away from carbon-intensive power generation is needed.
The report “Transforming the EU power sector: avoiding a carbon lock-in” stresses the need for the EU to become more forward-looking when it comes to investing in cleaner energy sources. It calls on the EU to seize the opportunity to decarbonise the energy generating sector, replacing ageing and end-of-life coal-fired plants with renewable energy sources where possible between now and 2030.
It gives a detailed analysis of the energy generating sector, looking specifically at the technical lifetimes of existing fossil fuel capacity, showing that similar lifetimes in the future would be inc ompatible with the EU’s climate goals and highlighting that meeting these goals can only be realised if fossil fuel capacity decreases progressively within this decade.
The report calls for an integrated and coherent tracking of progress towards EU climate and energy targets. It also suggests that an increased alignment of energy, climate and environmental policies can maximise benefits and speed up the transition to a secure, sustainable and competitive EU power sector.
“Europe is now generating four times more wind power and 70 times more solar power as in 2005. This is good news, but a clear, forward-looking investment strategy is also necessary across the fossil fuel power sector to meet our long-term challenge to cut CO2 emissions. Europe is committed to decarbonise its economy so we cannot afford to tie up our investments in emission-intensive technologies. Investing in renewables and energy efficiency provides the best return on our money,” said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director.
Source: EEA News, 7 Oct 2016