Europe’s Energy Future – an Atlas of Roadmaps

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EU GHG Emissions to 2050. Transport is coloured green. (Source: EU)

On 15 December 2011, the European Commission (EC) adopted the Communication Energy Roadmap 2050. In October Eurogas (the European Union of the Natural Gas Industry) released its own Eurogas Roadmap 2050, seeking to inform the EC process. Earlier this year, in March the EC released Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (COM(2011) 144 final ); and A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 (COM(2011) 112 final).

The collective emphasis of the Roadmaps is to achieve massive emissions reduction across all types of energy consumers through harmonised policy, planning and investment. The following extracts are drawn from the various documents and include comment from NGVA Europe and Eurogas.

“To achieve the goal of cutting emissions by over 80% by 2050, Europe’s energy production will have to be almost carbon-free. How to achieve this without disrupting energy supplies and competitiveness is the question answered by the European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050. Based on the analysis of a set of scenarios, the document describes the consequences of a carbon free energy system and the policy framework needed. The EC says this should allow member states to make the required energy choices and create a stable business climate for private investment, especially until 2030.”

Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger stated: “Only a new energy model will make our system secure, competitive and sustainable in the long-run. We now have a European framework for the necessary policy measures to be taken in order to secure the right investments.”

“The analysis is based on illustrative scenarios, created by combining in different ways the four main decarbonisation routes (energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage (CCS)). None is likely to materialise but all scenarios clearly show a set of “no regrets” options for the coming years.”

“The aim of the roadmap is to achieve the low-carbon 2050 objectives while improving Europe’s competitiveness and security of supply. Member States are already planning national energy policies for the future, but it is necessary to join forces in coordinating their efforts within a broader framework.” The EC says a European approach will result in lower costs and secure supply compared to national parallel schemes.

“The EU has a high dependence on foreign sources of energy imported from a limited number of suppliers (EU27 currently imports 83.5% of its oil and 64.2% of its gas consumption; overall import dependency is around 54% and is projected to slightly increase by 2050), including supplies from politically unstable regions. In addition there is a gradual depletion of fossil fuel resources and rising global competition for energy resources.”

The sectoral Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system — focused on solutions for the transport sector and on creating a Single European Transport Area. “It aims to introduce profound changes in passenger and freight transport patterns, resulting in a competitive transport sector which allows increased mobility, cuts CO2 emissions to 60% below 1990 levels by 2050 and breaks the transport system’s dependence on oil … To achieve this, efficient vehicles and incentives for behavioural change are required.”

The Impact Statement associated with the Energy Roadmap states: “It will take decades to steer our energy systems onto a more secure and sustainable path. In addition, there is no silver bullet to achieve it. There is no single energy source that is abundant and that has no drawbacks in terms of its sustainability, security of supply and competitiveness (price).”

The EC sectoral Transport Roadmap declares: “The challenge is to break the transport system’s dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency and compromising mobility. In line with the flagship initiative “Resource efficient Europe” set up in the Europe 2020 Strategy and the new Energy Efficiency Plan 2011, the paramount goal of European transport policy is to help establish a system that underpins European economic progress, enhances competitiveness and offers high quality mobility services while using resources more efficiently. In practice, transport has to use less and cleaner energy, better exploit a modern infrastructure and reduce its negative impact on the environment and key natural assets like water, land and ecosystems.”

Eurogas says its own Roadmap shows flexible options to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80%. Amongst them are new highly-efficient gas and hybrid heating, and trucks running on LNG.

  • Natural gas today has only minor use in transport (1 bcm). In 2030, natural gas should reach a market share of 5% for passenger transport and 13% for freight.
  • The natural gas market share should increase between 2030 and 2050, reaching 13% and 33% respectively for passenger and freight transport and representing a volume of 33 bcm in 2050.

Subsequent to the release of the Energy Roadmap 2050, Eurogas has issued a press release. It welcomes the clear recognition in the Roadmap that natural gas ‘will be critical for the transformation of the energy system’.

Eurogas notes a new phase in the policy orientation and recommendations of the Roadmap. Natural gas will be central to the future low carbon agenda:

  • Substituting for higher carbon fuels in high-efficiency generation of electricity;
  • Providing flexibility in dispatch that will support the further extension of renewables;
  • Opening options for technological change in carbon capture and storage, in new high efficiency uses in heating and transport.

Eurogas welcomes the Commission’s emphasis that ‘with evolving technologies, gas might play an increasing role in the future’. The association also underlines the strong compatibility and partnership between gas and renewable energy.

It adds there is no need to depend fully on the electrification of transport and heating. Gas is a carbon-reducing alternative that is instantly available in both sectors.

A recent article published by NGVA Europe, the European Association for Bio and Natural Gas Vehicles, commented on the Eurogas Roadmap released at the Eurogas conference in Brussels in October 2011 as a precursor to the December EC Energy Roadmap meeting. It notes:

  • The share of natural gas and biomethane used in transport is expected to increase significantly.
  • The importance of natural gas in transport becomes even more evident when looking at the natural gas consumption overall up to 2050.

NGVA Europe expects that the European NGV market should reach a market share of 5% by 2020, 9-10% by 2030 and 16-20% up to 2050, combining all transport modes (to date 0.4%).

Documents can be found on the Energy Roadmap 2050 and Eurogas websites.

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