Electrification Could Save Europe’s Energy Grid — Here’s How

Europe is facing an energy crisis. Gas prices are high, and the continent is struggling to meet its challenging climate goals. These issues are primarily because the region relies heavily on imported oil and gas. This reliance has made Europe vulnerable to price shocks, as seen in 2008 when the price of oil spiked. In addition, Europe’s aging energy infrastructure needs modernization to resolve many of these ongoing issues.

Europe’s climate goals and current carbon footprint

By 2050, Europe aims to become the world’s first climate-neutral continent. To pave the way to achieve this ambitious target in the fight against climate change, the European Commission created a dedicated action plan known as the European Green Deal. This is an ambitious new climate policy proposed by the European Union, or EU, that aims to make the EU carbon-neutral by 2050. The plan includes investment in:

  • Renewable energy
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Energy efficiency
  • And measures to reduce emissions from agriculture and industry.

It also calls for a strong focus on climate justice, with efforts to take responsibility by helping those most vulnerable in society adapt – all while building clean energy solutions so they can access and transition to a low-carbon economy. The Green Deal has been met with some criticism, particularly over its cost and that it doesn’t go far enough. But if successful, it could be a significant step forward in the fight against climate change. Electrification can help alleviate some of these issues.

So what does it mean to electrify everything?

Electrification is implementing technologies that utilize electricity as their primary energy source, often replacing existing technologies that rely heavily on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. Depending on the resources used to generate the electricity, electrification can potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector, which accounts for about 77% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU.

The EU Commission is looking to make electricity 75% of their continent’s energy consumed by 2050. Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, says that this goal made by the Commission is possible, although with some caveats. He mentioned the requirement of emphasis on “cross-border planning and planning processes at the EU level” and the necessity for countries to include all stakeholders in grid planning. He goes on to say that, “we need to have concrete plans for Europe’s grids. Without extra investments, we simply won’t be able to get the large amounts of green electricity produced by wind farms to where it is needed.”

With 76% of Europe’s power grid still relying on fossil fuels for electricity, it’s crucial that the continent reaches at least 60% electrification by 2050 if they hope to meet their climate targets.

Author: Ben Ahrens
Source: Plug and Play