The report outlines a pathway towards a 100% renewable energy system for the EU by 2050, concluding it is the only sustainable option in economic, environmental and social terms.
However, to reach the goal, a strong political will, and public and economic support are needed, EREC warns.
“The potential benefits of a future based on renewable energy are multiple: mitigating climate change, ensuring energy security and creating sustainable future-oriented jobs,” says Arthouros Zervos, President of EREC.
“Higher upfront investment for renewable energy do pay off in the long-run, as the capital investment cost will be outweighed by the avoided fossil fuel and CO2 costs,” he adds.
Furthermore, moving to a 100% renewable energy future could mean 6.1 million people would be working in the European energy sector by 2050. Although EREC did not clarify how many of these are new jobs, or whether there would be a migration of the roles of current energy industry positions.
Technology not an issue
As has been made clear by various renewable energy industry associations such as RenewableUK to participants at the EU Sustainable Energy Week, technology is ready. It is political will that is the problem.
EREC says: “As the RE-Thinking 2050 report clearly outlines, achieving a 100% renewable energy fuelled economy is not a matter of availability of technologies, rather it is a matter of political will and of setting the course today for a sustainable energy future for the European Union.”
Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), adds: “EWEA fully supports EREC’s vision of Europe moving towards 100% renewable energy by 2050. We have abundant wind, sun and other resources and the technologies to do it. Harnessing these natural and clean energy sources would give Europe energy independence and create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Europe.
“100% renewables is an inspiring but achievable objective which makes economic, environmental and social sense for Europe. I urge European leaders to have the courage and the vision to seize this opportunity and facilitate the necessary changes to infrastructure and market design.”