In July 2008 the leaders of the EU and the G8 announced a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The European Council set the objective for Europe at 80 to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
The European Climate Foundation’s Roadmap 2050 study
shows that the transition to a fully reliable, fully decarbonised power sector by 2050 is a pre-condition for achieving the 80% economy-wide emissions reduction target, and that this both technically feasible and economically affordable.
The new contributing study, Power Perspectives 2030: On the road to a decarbonised power sector, shows us what needs to be done by 2030 and helps policymakers and business alike to navigate the medium term path to a fully decarbonised power sector by 2050. This study shows that in the current decade, the European Union, its Member States and commercial undertakings need both to ensure the implementation of current commitments and to establish an adequate policy and legal framework to steer the decarbonisation of the power sector beyond 2020, especially in the decade 2020-2030. RAP gave significant input to this report which tells policy makers that they must provide the right signals and incentives to all players in the value chain as soon and as clearly as possible, in order to get on the right track now for reaching the power decarbonisation goal in 2050.
In particular the study shows that building new and improved transmission grid infrastructure is essential to balance a decarbonised power system cost-effectively and to integrate energy markets (see RAP’s policy brief Securing Grids for a Sustainable Future). In this respect, the study shows that Demand-side resources such as energy efficiency and demand response (including distributed energy storage options and distributed production) represent an attractive means to reduce the amount of transmission and large-scale generation investments required. The study adds that it is important to promote a diverse portfolio of low-carbon generation technologies across Europe – the complementarity of renewables deployment and flexible thermal generation is central to that approach. To ensure this diversification, more regulatory certainty for renewable technologies beyond 2020 is required at the European level.
Power Perspectives 2030 also shows that adaptations to the power and carbon markets are needed to underpin investor confidence in the transition and steer investment to an adequate mix of resources that are technically compatible. In fact it finds that traditional capacity-based mechanisms will become increasingly unfit for purpose as needs shift from simple firm capacity to the particular capabilities a resource offers to the system, such as flexibility. The study also concludes that more progress is needed to integrate the energy markets whilst better aligning the current ETS linear reduction factor of 1.74% with the 2050 target of 80% domestic GHG abatement (see RAP’s webpages ‘Beyond Capacity Markets: Delivering Capability Resources to Europe’s Decarbonised Power System‘ and ‘EU Emissions Trading Scheme and an Optimal Mix of Climate Policies’).