Biofuels and electric vehicles key to EU decarbonisation, report claims

A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says the EU could double the renewable share in its energy mix, cost effectively, from 17% in 2015 to 34% in 2030.

In order to reach long term decarbonisation goals, the report argues that all renewable transport options – both biofuels and electric vehicles, are necessary.

The report also argues that biomass will remain a key renewable energy source through to 2030 and beyond. Earlier this year, a Eurostat report argued that although wood biomass was the biggest contributor to the EU’s renewable energy supply, the mix was shifting. The Eurostat figures suggesting the rate of increase in wood biomass sources was not keeping pace with wind, solar and other renewables.

The IRENA report argues all EU countries have ‘cost-effective’ potential to use more renewables.

“Tapping the additional renewable energy potentials identified in the study would propel the EU further on a decarbonisation pathway compatible with the ‘well-below’ 2°C objective established in the Paris Agreement,” a statement announcing the report explains.

The new report comes as part of the Remap EU study, which is aiming to identify cost-effective renewable energy options across all Member States, sectors and technologies in a bid to meet and possibly exceed the proposed 27% renewables target for 2030.


2030 cost savings

According to IRENA, current plans for renewable energy deployment would result in a renewables share of 24% by 2030. The authors identify three categories of through which additional potential could be realised.

Significantly, the study notes that the first category – renewable power generation (wind, solar, hydro and thermal) could lead to strong cost savings compared to conventional technologies. The second category – which relates to the heat and transport sector and covers both electrification and biodiesel, delivers cost-neutrality to moderate savings. The third category, which involves different forms of biomass across sectors, would come at an additional cost.

However, it’s noted that full implementation of all the identified options would result in net cost savings of $25 billion (€20 billion) a year, with the savings from the cheapest options outweighing the costs of the most expensive.

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