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BB200610, News in Brief

EU report predicts strong growth for renewables with efficiency

26.11.2006

The share of renewable energies could reach 20% by 2020 in Europe, under a combined scenario of high energy efficiency and high renewables. According to a study released in early August, Europe could under this scenario hold CO2 emissions below 1990 levels from 2010 onwards, while bringing overall energy demand back below its 1990 level by 2030.

The report, ‘European energy & transport - Scenarios on energy efficiency & renewables,’ was prepared by the European Commission’s energy and transport directorate. These scenarios illustrate possible alternative pathways for the evolution of the EU energy system in the horizon to 2030. As stated in the report, the modeling for all three scenarios starts from the assumption that agreed policies will be vigorously implemented in the Member States and that certain new targets on the overall share of renewables in 2020 will be broadly achieved. These scenarios explore the consequences of such achievements for all sectors of the energy economy and address also the issue of possible synergies and overlaps between policies on energy efficiency and on renewables. Three different scenarios in efficiency and renewables, reflecting policies which currently are under discussion are examined:

* The “Energy efficiency” case takes into account all energy efficiency policies tabled by the European Commission. The modelling assumes that through Community and national/local action energy consumers improve their perception of energy costs so that more efficient energy solutions are chosen, overcoming the barrier of higher initial costs and to a large extent dispelling barriers related to lack of information.

Main conclusion of the energy efficiency scenario

Primary energy needs decline significantly (-18.6% compared to the Baseline in 2030), so that in 2030 total energy consumption would be as low as it had been in 1990. In 2020, total energy needs would have come back to the level of 2000. However, the import dependency of the EU-25 energy system exhibits a slight worsening from Baseline levels (65.5% in 2030 compared to 64.9% in the Baseline). CO2 emissions in 2010 come back to their 1990 level instead of increasing by 3% in the Baseline. In 2020, emissions are 10% below the 1990 level and in 2030 CO2 emissions are projected to reach minus 16 % below the 1990 level. For installed wind capacity, the report forecasts for the EU 25 108.2 GW by 2020 (13.1 GW offshore) and 141.4 GW by 2030 (34.1 GW offshore)

* The “High renewables” case assumes that additional incentives are provided both to energy consumers and energy producers so that the global indicative target of a 12% contribution from renewable energy sources to gross energy consumption in 2010 is reached. Furthermore, strengthening of these incentives beyond 2010 is assumed towards achieving a contribution from renewable energy sources to gross energy consumption close to 20% in 2020.

Main conclusion of the high renewables scenario

The further strengthening of promoting policies for renewables up to 2030 leads to an increase of the renewables share in energy reaching 24.0% (+11.8 percentage point from Baseline). This further growth for renewables strongly affects nuclear energy and solid fuels (-33.5% and -31.8% respectively compared to Baseline). The effects on liquid fuels (-8.6%) and natural gas (-5.8%) are less pronounced. The share of nuclear falls to 7.5%.

The share of renewables (including waste) in electricity generation increases to 23.5% in 2010, 39.4% in 2020 and 45.6% in 2030 (5.4, 16.0 and 18.0 percentage points above Baseline levels, respectively). Biomass and waste account for 40.3% of renewable electricity in 2030, wind energy for 33.0% and hydro for 20.9% (from 18.3%, 33.1% and 46.0% respectively in 2010). The biofuels share in petrol and diesel consumption rises to 6.4% in 2010, to 14.2% in 2020 and to 19.1% in 2030.

Import dependency falls below Baseline level so that the increase of import dependency is considerably moderated with strong renewables promotion. Import dependency in 2010 is limited to 52% - close to the current level – and increases only somewhat to reach 58% in both 2020 and 2030 instead of 64% and 65% in 2020 and 2030 respectively in the Baseline.

For installed wind capacity, the report forecasts for the EU 25 208.6 GW by 2020 (55.5 GW offshore) and 275.1 GW by 2030 (98.1 GW offshore

* The “Combined high renewables and efficiency” case, which combines the assumptions of the two cases mentioned above, explores their aggregate effect on the evolution of the EU-25 energy system and allows for an in depth analysis of their possible synergies as well as any trade-offs.

Main conclusion of the combined high renewables and efficiency scenario

Overall, the “Combined high renewables and efficiency” case reveals a much more favourable EU-25 energy system outlook with energy requirements declining by 2030 to levels slightly below those observed in 1990. The share of renewables in gross inland consumption reaches 15% in 2015, 20% in 2020 and 26% in 2030. CO2 emissions remain well below the 1990 level over the whole projection period (-6.7% in 2010, -21.4% in 2020 and -29.3% in 2030) contributing substantially to Kyoto objectives for 2010 and possible more ambitious ones for later periods. Furthermore, in the “Combined high renewables and efficiency” case import dependency improves from Baseline levels reaching 59.2% in 2030 (5.7 percentage points below Baseline levels).

For installed wind capacity, the report forecasts for the EU 25 190.1 GW by 2020 (50 GW offshore) and 252.1 GW by 2030 (87.9 GW offshore).

Figure 1: Installed wind capacity in EU 25 in the different scenarios

Scenarios

2010

2020

2030

Energy efficiency

Onshore
Offshore 

Total

64.3
7.4  

71.7

95.2
13.1  

108.2

107.2
34.1  

141.4

High Renewables

Onshore
Offshore

Total

95.2
15.7  

110.8

153.1
55.5  

208.6

177.0
98.1  

275.1

Combined high Renewables and efficiency

Onshore
Offshore  

Total

93.3
13.2  

106.5

140.2
50.0  

190.1

164.2
87.9  

252.1

Baseline scenario
2006


78.4


127.6


182.9



Figure 2: % of energy sources in gross energy consumption

Scenarios

2000

2010

2020

2030

Energy efficiency

Solids
Oil
Gas
Nuclear
Renewable energy

18.5
38.4
22.8
14.4
5.8

16.1
36.7
25.2
13.1
8.8

13.5
36.3
28.4
11.1
11.4

13.2
36.6
28.4
8.1
11.8

High Renewables

Solids
Oil
Gas
Nuclear
Renewable energy

18.5
38.4
22.8
14.4
5.8

14.2
35.9
24.5
13.7
11.6

10.5
33.8
25.8
10.5
19.3

10.7
31.4
26.2
7.5
24

Combined high Renewables and efficiency”

Solids
Oil
Gas
Nuclear
Renewable energy

18.5
38.4
22.8
14.4
5.8

14.0
36.2
23.7
14.1
11.9

9.6
35.2
25.3
9.9
19.9

8.2
34.9
26.0
4.8
25.9

Baseline scenario

Solids
Oil
Gas
Nuclear
Renewable energy

18.5
38.4
22.8
14.4
5.8

15.9
36.9
25.5
13.7
8

13.8
35.5
28.1
12.1
10.4

15.3
33.8
27.3
11.1
12.1



The results were derived from the PRIMES model by a consortium led by the National Technical University of Athens, and provide projections to 2030 with details on energy demand, transformation, imports and production by fuel and sector. The report also gives a breakdown for six different regions: EU-25, EU-15, EU-10, EU-27, EU-28 and Europe-30. In the three scenarios, demand for all energy forms declines compared to the baseline projections, with the biggest fall projected for nuclear and solid fuels. A slowdown in electricity demand growth, due to greater energy efficiency, and higher exploitation of co-generation in the power generation sector means both nuclear and solid fuels lose market share in primary energy needs, while the share of oil increases 3.1 percentage points over baseline by 2030, while renewables rise 1.1 percentage points and natural gas rises 1.0 percentage points from baseline.



All the figures of the three scenarios are made in comparison to the baseline scenario “ European energy and transport: Trends to 2030 – Update 2005 “recently updated (July 2006, see Brussels Briefing 06/9). References are typically used for comparison, and present the theoretical case where no action is taken. That is not a politically realistic viewpoint. The European Commission Reference scenario “takes into account all government policies and initiatives that had been adopted by mid-2004. It does not include policy initiatives that might be adopted in the future. The energy market in Europe has come under political scrutiny where policy actions are being explored, as reflected by the recently published 2006 Green Paper A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy. The policy landscape in energy will certainly evolve.

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