Energy report calls for doubling of European renewables ambitions

An ambitious doubling of renewables could halve European gas consumption for electricity according to a report published by Finnish energy technology firm


Through its report Europe’s Energy Future the company is calling on European leaders to implement cross-country coordination and investment to deliver up to 80GW per year of renewable capacity, backed by flexible balancing technologies.

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The approach modelled in the report would see renewable energy share in electricity generation increase from around 33 per cent today to over 60 per cent by 2030 and could – it is claimed - cut annual gas usage in the power sector by 52 per cent across the continent by 2030. This would enable the region to avoid 5,456 TWh of gas consumption (the equivalent of 3.5 years of Russian gas supply to the EU)

The report is based on the modelling of 33 European countries, including 27 EU member states, plus UK, Norway, Switzerland and the Balkans.  The cost of running existing fossil fuel and renewable power plants is included, as well as fuel costs where relevant, plus the associated carbon emissions. Wind and solar PV are modelled with their hourly generation profiles based on predicted weather conditions, as well as required balancing technologies to balance variable renewable generation. Modelled technology options include different renewable sources, such as wind, solar PV and geothermal, thermal technologies from gas engines and turbine power plants – plus nuclear power, storage technologies, such as battery and pump storage, and technologies to produce sustainable fuels.

The report also claims that this large-scale investment in renewables would reduce electricity bills by up to 10 per cent. Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy and EVP, Wärtsilä, said: “Cutting Europe’s dependence on expensive baseload fossil fuels and increasing energy independence need not cost more for power companies or energy consumers. Accelerating the transition to a clean energy system could save EUR 323 / USD 356 billion by 2030 compared to continuing the current pace of renewables growth.”

To reach the scenario modelled by Wärtsilä, European countries would need to collectively add an average 80GW of new renewable capacity each year to 2030.. In order to provide Europe’s baseload power, wind and solar must be deployed alongside balancing technologies, such as energy storage and future-proof balancing engines capable of running on sustainable fuels.

"There is now widespread support in the European Parliament for a 45 per cent renewable energy target to urgently cut Europe's dependence on the volatile gas market in the lowest cost, cleanest way," said Jan Andersson, General Manager, Market Development, Africa & Europe, Wartsila Energy. "Our modelling shows that going further - raising the share of renewables to more than 60 per cent - would almost halve power sector gas consumption, while creating major energy savings for European households."