Electricity for a carbon-free future
Electricity’s Strategic Role in Leading Europe’s Decarbonization
The energy of the future: benefits of electrification
The European Union has increased its 2030 climate ambition , pushing the target to at least a 55% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990, in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 . We will need a vast expansion of renewables and a huge increase in the number of vehicles, products and processes that run on electricity to get there. Electricity, powered by renewable energy, is the most efficient and cost-effective solution : it is clean, cheap and high-performance.
There are many benefits to switching to electricity in our daily lives:
- CLEAN UP THE ENERGY WE USE : Electricity produced with an increasingly renewable energy mix is the only route for a truly clean energy system.
- SAVE MONEY ON OUR BILLS : When our appliances or rides are electric, we can save energy because they are more efficient compared with other energy carriers.
- TURN OUR HOME INTO A SMART HOME : Electric appliances can be digitalized through smart technologies. New products and services are available to the customer and support its empowerment.
- HEALTHIER, CLEANER AND MORE LIVEABLE CITIES : Switching from the direct use of fossil fuels to electricity leads to better air quality by reducing the emissions of local pollutants.
e-Transport, e-Buildings, e-Industries: a roadmap to improve the quality of our lives
With dramatic cost reductions making wind and solar cheaper than fossil-fueled power generation in many regions, low-cost renewable electricity can replace the direct use of fossil fuels in the sectors causing most greenhouse gas emissions:
- Transportation: Electric vehicles are three to five times more efficient than internal combustion engine models.
- Buildings: Heat pumps use four times less energy than oil or gas boilers.
- Industry: Energy intensity significantly decreases thanks to the electrification of industrial processes.
Electrification of final uses calls for clean technologies in power generation, notably increased wind and solar capacity, which need infrastructure digitalization as a crucial enabling factor. This transition towards clean electricity as the main source of energy can be combined with “indirect” electrification in some industrial applications, maritime shipping and aviation – where direct electrification is still not a feasible solution. In these areas, green hydrogen and e-fuels obtained via electrolysis are the most suitable options to reduce emissions.
How to accelerate the electrification pathways: policy actions and recommendations
Technological innovations that allow for cost reductions and the need to seriously tackle climate change are driving the transition towards a more electrified society. To make sure that decision makers, households and businesses are encouraged to make the best economic choices, specific policies will be crucial: we need a fiscal system that reduces the tax burden on electricity and eliminates fossil fuel subsidies, together with a policy framework that provides easier procedures for the deployment of renewables , supports network modernization and digitalization to enable the energy transition, and attracts investments in both charging infrastructure and the efficient renovation of buildings.