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EU must reduce fossil electricity imports – Eurelectric
As much as 80% of the EU’s electricity could be fossil-free by 2030 – if all barriers to the investment and rollout of renewables are removed. This is the conclusion of the annual Power Barometer report produced by Eurelectric, the association that represents the Europen electricity industry.
The prediction comes as CO2 emissions from the power sector continued to fall even faster than forecast, partially thanks to the accelerated phase-out of coal. The report notes that renewables accounted for 20% of the EU’s electricity mix in 2010, and reached 34% last year.
Two-thirds of the electricity generated in the first half of this year was carbon-free, according to Eurelectric. Renewables covered 40% of the mix, while fossil fuel generation dropped by 18%. However, the association was quick to note that even greater acceleration is needed to meet Europe’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets. Specifically, the pace of deploying wind and solar capacities must double in the coming decade.
Restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19 have recently delayed many of Europe’s clean power projects, according to the Barometer, and permitting procedures are further slowing progress. Eurelectric has urged EU policymakers to examine and remove barriers that exist at both the national and international level.
It also called for measures to speed up electrification, including the rapid rollout of EV charging infrastructure. At present, the EU has some 250,000 vehicle charging points – and this figure needs to grow to at least 1mn by 2025, Eurelectric has said.
Finally, the organisation stressed that the EU must take steps to avoid unfair competition and imports of unabated coal-fired electricity from neighbouring non-member states. The Power Barometer documents a steep and sudden growth, from 3 TWh to over 20 TWh of electricity imported annually from outside the EU in the past five years.
Due to less stringent climate regulations, the average CO2 intensity of this imported electricity is two to three times higher than that produced in Europe. In September, the European Commission proposed raising the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target, including emissions and removals, to at least 55% compared to 1990. The current target is 40%.