New report says electrification of several European sectors could slash emissions by 60%

17 February 2020
New report says electrification of several European sectors could slash emissions by 60%

Electrification of the transport, buildings, and industrial sectors in Europe could slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 60% between 2020 and 2050. The report outlines a plausible pathway of electrification, taking account of current levels of policy ambition in countries like the UK and Germany. Electrification could take place via a mix of direct and indirect changes. It estimates that the power system could need 75% more generation capacity by 2050 compared with what would be needed without the additional sector coupling, with low-cost wind and solar plants comprising most of that. The power system would also need to be more flexible due to the different energy

to further reduce emissions to net-zero, governments would need to introduce more ambitious policies accelerating the sector coupling pathway, and bring other technologies to market such as carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS)

It will be important to meet the additional power demand with clean power as much as feasible to maximize the climate benefits of sector coupling. You can download the report.


Related Content   #electricity  #technologies  #policy ambition 


Electrification of the transport, buildings, and industrial sectors in Europe could slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 60% between 2020 and 2050, according to a new report by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Written in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft, the report, “Sector Coupling in Europe: Powering Decarbonization, outlines a plausible pathway of electrification, taking account of current levels of policy ambition in countries like the UK and Germany.

According to BNEF, electrification, or “sector coupling” as it’s known in some countries, could make a huge contribution to the achievement of governments’ emission-reduction targets by exploiting the low-carbon transition already underway in the power generation sector.

Electrification could take place via a mix of direct and indirect changes. Direct would involve the proliferation of electric vehicles in as much of the transport sector as possible, and the spread of electric heating systems like heat pumps in buildings and some parts of industry; and indirect would involve a switch to “green hydrogen” – produced by electrolysis using renewable electricity – as a fuel to provide heat for buildings and as many industrial processes as possible, that otherwise would rely on fossil fuels.

The report estimates that the power system could need 75% more generation capacity by 2050 compared with what would be needed without the additional sector coupling, with low-cost wind and solar plants comprising most of that. The power system would also need to be more flexible due to the different energy consumption patterns of heating and transport. At the same time, the newly electrified sectors could create new sources of this flexibility – by being able to alter their consumption patterns – provided the right policies and technologies are in place.

Such an electrification pathway would enable power (directly and indirectly) to account for up to 60% of final energy demand by these sectors, compared to just 10% now. That would still be far short of full decarbonization for those sectors. That is due to the various hard-to-abate activities within them – including aviation, shipping, long-haul road transport and high-temperature industrial processes such as cement and steel – as well as the long replacement cycles of some assets.

BNEF states that to further reduce emissions to net-zero, governments would need to introduce more ambitious policies accelerating the sector coupling pathway, and bring other technologies to market such as carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). They would also have to address agriculture and land use.

It will be important to meet the additional power demand with clean power as much as feasible to maximize the climate benefits of sector coupling. In the report’s pathway, which assumes that the above mentioned challenges are met, total emissions across power, transport, buildings, and industry fall by 68% from 2020 to 2050. This compares with a reduction of 60% if only considering transport, buildings and industry.

You can download the full report here.

 

Author: Emily Holbrook

Image credit: Pixabay

This article was previously published on Environmental+Energy Leader.