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15.12.2011

EU energy policy

Roadmap fails to plot path for secure, safe and sustainable energy future

The European Commission today finally presented the Energy Roadmap 2050, setting out its assessment of scenarios for the EU's energy future. The Greens have hit out at the plans for being based on flawed assumptions for renewable energy and energy savings, whilst overstating the role of nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage. Despite these flaws, the roadmap calculations show that renewable energy and energy efficiency will have to be the central elements of Europe’s future energy system. Commenting on the proposals, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:

“The roadmap is characterised by flawed cost assumptions and overly-pessimistic projections on the potential contribution of energy saving and renewable energy. Despite all these flaws, the Commission’s calculations still demonstrate that renewables and efficiency will have to be the central elements of Europe’s energy future, while nuclear energy and fossil fuels should become irrelevant.  Instead of recognising that, however, the policypaper represents a political choice by energy commissioner Oettinger to talk up the potential of nuclear power, in spite of the ever growing costs and  public and political opposition, and regardless of what is in the best interest of the EU."

Green energy spokesperson Claude Turmes MEP added:

"If the EU is to meet its energy security goals and deliver on its commitment to limit the increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees, which implies emissions reductions of up to 95% by 2050, it must rapidly shift to a high-efficiency, renewable energy-based economy. 2030 is the next crucial energy milestone for Europe after 2020. With this in mind, and based on the success of the EU's current 2020 binding renewables target for promoting the uptake of renewable energy, the Commission should be working for an ambitious binding 2030 renewable energy target. Regrettably, the roadmap fails to do so notably because Oettinger deliberately omitted to present the most plausible future EU energy scenario, a combined high efficiency, high renewables scenario. Therefore the assumptions on the contribution of renewables to the energy mix are far too conservative. Combined high efficiency high renewables scenarios show that renewables could contribute up to 45% of the EU energy mix already by 2030, on the path towards a 100% renewable energy based economy. However, the highest possible contribution considered by the Commission in its analysis is a measly 30%, with renewables becoming the main energy source only after 2030."

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Richard More O'Ferrall

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