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EU countries join call for 100% renewable energy

A joint letter sent to the European Commission from six member states has called for a 100% renewable energy scenario to be included in its long-term climate projections.

The signatories, including the energy and environment ministers of Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Spain, said: “The serious risks of climate change are at the heart of [citizens’] concerns.

“As leaders, we have the responsibility to show the younger generation that they are being heard.”

The call comes in the wake of the eight energy scenarios for 2050 that were unveiled by the Commission in 2018 as potential solutions to comply with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

None of the options presented, ranging from business-as-usual to net-zero emission cuts, included a 100% renewable energy scenario, and only two of them could achieve climate neutrality.

The letter stated: “While we welcome this vision, we also express our wish for a scenario consisting of 100% renewable energy in 2050 and notably 100% in the electricity sector.

“We invite you to initiate this work as soon as possible.”

In March, the Commission tabled a landmark Climate Law, aiming to make the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objective legally-binding for all 27 member states. The EU executive is also conducting a detailed cost-benefit analysis in line with meeting the 2050 climate neutrality goal, the findings of which are expected to be made public in September. 

However, some EU member states, such as Spain, have already announced goals for a fully-renewable electricity system, and researchers from Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology recently presented a vision of a 100% system, based on 20 independent European regions being connected through a “super grid”.

Luxembourg’s energy minister Claude Turmes called the Commission’s current proposal for a climate law a “real disappointment”.

“The price of carbon is not a magic wand,” Turmes told EURACTIV, a European media network that specialises in EU policies, insisting it was time to recognise that the majority of greenhouse gas emissions cuts for 2050 will come from renewables and energy efficiency.

“The least that the Commission can do is to model a ‘100% renewable energy’ scenario for Europe in 2050, so that we can compare the different options available to us transparently.”

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