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100% renewables by 2050: Low-carbon Europe

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on June 4th, 2010

Source: Environmental Research Web

© RoadMap 2050 EU Energy Network

Europe could switch to low carbon sources of electricity, with up to 100% coming from renewables by 2050, without risking energy reliability or pushing up energy bills, according to a major new study, Roadmap 2050: a practical guide to a prosperous, low-carbon Europe, developed by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) with contributions from McKinsey, KEMA, Imperial College London and Oxford Economics. It says that a transition to a low- or zero-carbon power supply based on high levels of renewable energy would have no impact on reliability, and would have little overall impact on the cost of generating electricity.

Matt Phillips, a senior associate with the ECF, said: “When the Roadmap 2050 project began it was assumed that high-renewable energy scenarios would be too unstable to provide sufficient reliability, that high-renewable scenarios would be uneconomic and more costly, and that technology breakthroughs would be required to move Europe to a zero-carbon power sector. Roadmap 2050 has found all of these assertions to be untrue.” (As quoted by

ECF claimed that the widely held assumption that renewable energy is always more costly than fossil fuels is increasingly outdated, arguing that while the initial capital investment needed for low carbon energy infrastructure is more than for conventional high carbon system, the long term operating costs for low carbon energy will be lower. As a result of this, the reduction in use of increasingly expensive fuels and the gradual adoption of more efficient energy generation and using systems, it says that, although initially the GDP might be depressed very slightly, from 2020 it would rise and in the 2030 to 2050 period, the cost of energy per unit of GDP output could be about 20 to 30% lower.

Read the full article on Environmental Research Web.

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