The EU power sector is perceived to be the least costly way to decarbonize as it offers several options for gaining a greater share of the final demand.
23 February 2012
Power sector - key to decarbonize Europe
The European Union is aiming at reducing its
greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent
compared to its 1990 levels by 2050. The
power sector is perceived to be the easiest and
least costly way to decarbonize as it offers
several options, says an article created by
© Paolo Cipriani
With more flexibility in its use, electricity is set to gain a greater share of the final energy demand
mix, says the article "The important role of renewable power sources in the move towards a post-
carbon Europe," published by Leonardo Energy.
Additionally, the power sector has followed a trend of decreasing its carbon intensity per unit of
GDP in the past, and it is expected this trend should continue in the future, as shown below by the
However, in order to reach the 2050 target, an effort even more intense would be necessary,
breaking new ground compared to the historical trend.
In the carbon-constrained scenario, an important part of the overall emissions reductions would
occur in the power sector. Simultaneously, large efforts in energy conservation and energy
efficiency in other sectors of the economy would also have to be undertaken.
"The resulting CO2 emissions from the power sector would wind up being slightly negative as a
whole by 2050, due to the carbon uptake of biomass combustion technologies with Carbon Capture
and Storage (CCS) - i.e. adding CCS to biomass combustion, which is a process already considered
as carbon-neutral," the article says.
"Reductions are mainly based on CCS technologies and renewables diffusion. Under a carbon
constraint that becomes progressively more stringent in order to reach the 2050 target, the CCS
technologies (57 percent of cumulative reductions) become the main contributors."
However, despite this prominent role for the future energy landscape, CCS is a technology that is
still unproven at an industrial scale. The removal of CCS as an emissions reduction option results in
Europe failing to meet its 2050 target, the article warns.
The article emphasizes the necessity to adapt the power system to allow the strong penetration of
renewables and presents efforts how to redesign the power system.
Leonardo Energy full article
Zero-carbon power plays a crucial role in EU's climate efforts
CCS - an opportunity to reduce emissions in the Nordic countries