Energy transition in European Union is irreversible: Report

New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) A new report by Strategic Perspectives on Tuesday described the potential socio-economic effects of achieving the European Union’s climate target for 2030.

The potential benefits can turn into reality if governments implement the laws to reach a net emission reduction of at least 55 per cent by 2030.

Strategic Perspectives is a new think-tank founded last year by Linda Kalcher and launched recently by two senior climate experts, Linda Kalcher and Neil Makaroff.

In this first report, they analysed how the European Green Deal will impact the bloc’s energy security, electricity prices, job creation and investment needs based on data provided by Cambridge Econometrics.

The findings show that European laws will set in stone major transformations of the European economy by 2030: Wind and solar power will be the main sources of electricity, accounting for 55 per cent of total electricity consumption; at least 58 million heat pumps will have been installed; around 29 million electric passenger cars will be on European roads; gas consumption will fall by at least 31 per cent across the EU, almost equivalent to Germany’s yearly gas consumption before the Russian war in Ukraine; and coal will no longer be cost-competitive and will be phased out according to the analysis.

While the cost-of-living crisis is affecting Europe, the rapid adoption of climate-friendly solutions can cut energy bills and reduce the vulnerability of low- and middle-income households.

The analysis reveals that, on average, European households will see their spending dedicated to energy and fuel reduced from 8.6 per cent of their budget in 2022 to 6.1 per cent in 2030. By that year, average electricity prices are forecast to decrease by seven per cent.

The transformation is happening at an unprecedented pace and scale, creating at least net 4,47,000 jobs in just a few years.

“Turning the European Green Deal into reality will bring greater energy security and economic prosperity. Solar and wind energy will be deployed over three times faster than in the last 20 years. This will reduce electricity prices for industry, improving its competitiveness,” said Linda Kalcher, Executive Director of Strategic Perspectives.

“The European Green Deal acts as a shield against the high cost-of-living. With its green laws, Europe is protecting the wallets of households and businesses as they provide all the solutions to cut energy bills and move away from gas, oil and coal, which are the main drivers of high inflation,” said Neil Makaroff, Director of Strategic Perspectives.

By 2030, say Strategic Perspectives, coal will no longer be cost-competitive and will be phased out, with coal imports reduced by 73 per cent.

Gas and oil consumption will have reduced by 31 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, compared to 2019. Conversely, if all laws are implemented correctly and on time, they will lead to a doubling of renewable energy capacity compared to 2021: renewables will be the main source of electricity in Europe.

Already this year, record renewable generation helped the EU weather a turbulent winter, dispelling fears of a coal comeback and reducing gas demand.

In 2022, wind and solar generated a record fifth of EU electricity (22 per cent), for the first time overtaking fossil gas (20 per cent), and remaining above coal power (16 per cent).

Coal power fell by 11 per cent (minus 27 TWh), and of the 18 countries in the EU that continue to use coal for power, 15 reduced coal generation over winter 2022 compared to the same period the previous year.