Monday, 04 July, 2022

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EU sees benefits in switching to renewable electricity

A steady increase in the use of renewable electricity across the European Union has reduced pressures linked to climate change, as well as air and water pollution – particulate matter formation, eutrophication and acidification.

These are the findings of the EU’s executive Commission made public.

The use of renewable sources such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and biomass, had, by 2018, significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions across the continent.

Findings revealed that the switch from fossil fuel to renewable electricity sources within the EU Member States resulted in clear improvements in 2018, compared with 2005.

As renewable electricity projects are set to grow, assessing other potential trade-offs, such as those affecting habitats and ecosystems, will be essential to contain future impacts.

As a result of these revelations, it is expected that proposed carbon border adjustment could be in the works.

“It’s a matter of survival of our industry. So if others will not move in the same direction, we will have to protect the European Union against distortion of competition and against the risk of carbon leakage. Carbon leakage would occur if companies left Europe to avoid the cost of its emissions-cutting policies.”

Frans Timmermans European Commission Executive Vice-President

Other Findings

The EU-wide share of renewable energy in 2019 was less than half a percentage point lower than the binding 20 % target for 2020.

At 34 % of all electricity generation, renewable electricity has almost doubled since 2005, and coal no longer supplies most of the EU’s electricity.

Still, fossil fuels produce more electricity altogether (38 % of all generation in 2019) than renewable sources.

With combustion-based installations dominating the power mix, the EU electricity sector is responsible for almost a quarter of all EU greenhouse gas emissions.

It also remains an important source of acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone formation.

Fully implementing national climate and energy plans for 2030 would allow the EU to overachieve its current climate and renewable energy targets for 2030.

However, such progress is still insufficient to meet a higher target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, or to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Renewable power would have to grow to over 80% by 2050 to meet these pledges.