RES professionals demonstrate in the report called RE-2050 it would be possible at that time to supply Europe with energy solely through renewable sources. The mandatory condition is to reduce the demand significantly.
According to the European renewable energy sector experts, the European Union could produce 100% of its energy both electricity and heating from renewable sources by 2050. In the prospective report called RE-thinking 2050, the European Council for Renewable Energy Council (EREC) explains how the energy mix could be based solely on renewable energy within 40 years and the economic, environmental and social benefits that might accompany such a transition.
As for electricity production, placing on the EREC wind up to 1552 TWh in 2050 against 104 TWh in 2007, 448 TWh of hydro (325 in 2007), 1347 TWh for photovoltaics (5.4 in 2007), 496 TWh from biomass (102 in 2007), 601 TWh geothermal (5.8 in 2007), 385 TWh through the solar thermal concentration (0.8 in 2007) and 158 TWh through ocean energy (non-existent in 2007).
To ensure the needs for heat, EREC expects to produce from biomass up to 214.5 million tonnes oil equivalent (Mtoe) against 61.2 Mtoe in 2007. Solar thermal could produce 122 Mtoe (0.88 in 2007) and geothermal 136.1 Mtoe (against 0.9 in 2007). Biofuels could represent 102 Mtoe against 7.88 in 2007.
Mandatory condition: a reduction of energy needs
In all, the renewable generation of electricity would reach about 5,000 TWh which must be added the 473 Mtoe of heat and 102 Mtoe of biofuels which is close to current needs for primary energy: 3.400 TWh of electricity were consumed 554 Mtoe in Europe in 2007 according to Eurostat, and 377 Mtoe of heat transport.
But this is far from being sufficient by 2050 if energy needs continue to grow at their current pace. EREC’s various scenarios based on prices of energy and saving policies implemented by governments. Renewable energy could meet more than 100% of requirements only if the saving policies are very aggressive and if energy consumption is down almost 40% compared to today.
Moreover, the scenario of the European Renewable Energy Council applies only if the investment in production sites increase. By 2050, these investments could reach more than 2,800 billion euros according to the study.
To convince EREC highlights the economic, social and environmental factors that result from a fully renewable energy mix. ”The potential benefits of the future based on renewable energy are numerous: climate change mitigation, energy security and job creation” says Arthouros Zervos, President of EREC.
According to the report, by 2050, the EU could reduce its fossil energy demand of about 1,000 Mtoe and could reduce its energy resulted CO2 emissions by more than 90% compared to 1990 resulting in savings of 3.8 million tonnes of coal.
In addition, 100% renewable energy would affect the benefits by participating in job creation, ”the renewables sector will employ a total of over 2.7 million people in 2020 and about 4.4 million in 2030. By 2050, employment in this sector will provide 6.1 million people with job” , said Arthouros Zervos.
Convinced that achieving an economy powered by renewable energy is not a question of availability of technologies but rather political will, EREC intended his study primarily to policy makers. EREC especially advise them to take advantage of the producing capacity of the renewal energy to reorient policies: ”By 2020, Europe needs to replace aging plants while meeting future demand. Approximately 330 GW of the new power capacity must be built by 2020, representing 42% of the EU capacity,” said EREC.