Rhein on Energy and Climate

The biggest European utility – EON – has announced bold plans for expanding renewable energy, especially from wind. By 2030 it projects generating some 24 percent of its electricity from renewable sources. Including nuclear power, the company expects more than half of its electricity generation to be C02-free in the long term.

That is good news and it even sounds impressive. But in fact, these plans fall short of what is required to prevent a dangerous warming of the planet and reach the target of the international community to halve global C02 emissions by 2050. To that end, essentially all electricity generated in Europe beyond 2030 should be C02-free, from wind, hydro, solar and nuclear. That is technically possible and economically feasible, even it will imply a rise of electricity rates.

It is therefore urgently necessary for the EU power industry to tune their violins according to what governments consider necessary. In view of the very long planning horizons of the power sector the EU should urgently set emission targets for the main emitters beyond 2020.

Better still, the EU should have the courage to decree a moratorium for new coal-fired power plants. These should only be commissioned if they provide for carbon capture and sequestration facilities to be operational by 2020.

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