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Increased climate ambitions require swift roll out of investments in resilient networks

At the end of the year EU leaders have provided a strong political, policy and funding base for Europe’s transition to climate-neutrality. On the 11th of December EU leaders met in Brussels to agree on targets and funding two major drivers for a clean energy future.

 

 

EU leaders agreed to increase its ambition by setting a binding EU target of a net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. This is an intermediate step to meet the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050 in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This new target now needs to be incorporated in an update of EU energy and climate legislation, such as the EU Climate Law, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive.

T&D Europe’s secretary general welcomed the decision of the European Council: “The increased target sends a clear signal that the EU is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will trigger a revision of existing EU legislation thereby giving the entire value chain in the electricity sector (investors, generators, operators, technology providers and consumers) the confidence that the future is climate-neutral.”

T&D Europe fully supports EU efforts to achieve climate-neutrality and sustainability targets, including promoting the circular economy and by delivering on ambitious climate and energy objectives for 2030. Electrification will play a major part in achieving a net zero emission economy by 2050. According to the IPCC, emissions reductions are driven by a strong electrification of the energy system. To keep global warming below 1.5C, the share of electricity should reach at least 60% in 2050. Direct electrification of end-use sectors like buildings, heating and cooling, transport, and industry will significantly reduce EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Electricity networks are the backbone of Europe’s energy system and facilitator of the energy transition. By 2050, more than 80% of electricity will come from renewable energy sources  and integrating a higher share of renewables will require a reliable, flexible and smart power system to continue to ensure a reliable, affordable and efficient energy supply.

Realizing EU energy and climate objectives requires investments. As part of its ‘European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ the Commission estimated average annual investments in the power grid between €59.2 billion between 2021 and 2030, increasing further to €110.3 billion between 2031 and 2050.  These investments include significant investments in equipment (such as transformers, switchgear), systems (ranging from microgrids to HVDC) and services (incl. data and cybersecurity) that our members provide. 

“The new 2030 target now needs to be translated in legislative updates and, crucially, investment decisions in Europe’s electricity networks. ”, said Diederik Peereboom. In the beginning of 2021, T&D Europe will publish its recommendations on which measures can already be taken by the different stakeholders.