Ecofys

Higher EU energy efficiency and renewable energy targets enable greenhouse gas emissions reductions of more than 50% in 2030

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Courtesy of Ecofys

An assessment of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 associated with a 30% renewable energy target and 30-40% energy efficiency targets.

The EU has put forward a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of ‘at least’ 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 emissions levels. Current plans1 are to achieve this by reducing energy demand by at least 27%2 and achieving a renewable energy share of at least 27% in gross final energy consumption.3 However, the agreement reached at the COP21 in Paris stressed the importance of achieving deeper emissions cuts in order to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 °C, whereas the EU’s 40% target is in line with 2 – 2.4 °C.4 The European Commission is currently preparing proposals for the revision of greenhouse gas, energy efficiency and renewables legislation. Ecofys – commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe – has calculated the impacts of higher energy efficiency and renewable energy targets. We show it is feasible to achieve emissions cuts of more than 50%, especially by aiming for higher energy efficiency targets.

Higher energy efficiency targets will enable emissions reductions of up to 50%

As part of its preparation for the review of the energy efficiency and renewable energy directives, the European Commission is investigating the impact of higher efficiency and renewables targets for 2030. The Commission is modelling scenarios in the 30 – 40% range for energy efficiency and 30-33% for renewables. Our analysis shows that by implementing a strong energy efficiency target, GHG emissions reductions of up to 50% are feasible. We analysed the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy by using the 2030 Target Tool developed by Ecofys. This tool is designed to assess consistent energy efficiency, renewable energy and GHG emissions reduction targets.5 The outcome of this analysis can be used to inform stakeholders on possibilities to increase the EU’s GHG emissions reduction target in line with what was agreed at the COP21. In this paper we use a 30% renewable energy target and three energy efficiency targets (30%, 35% and 40%) as input and calculate the associated emissions reductions.6 By doing so we provide estimates of how much the EU can translate the European Council’s ‘at least’ 40% by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions target into higher domestic emissions cuts. This differs from the Commission’s work in 2013 and 2014 on the 2030 targets. At the time the Commission sought to ensure that the energy efficiency and renewables targets matched 40% emissions cuts and did not lead to higher emissions reductions. 7 Figure 1 below shows both the absolute and relative impact on GHG emissions of a 30% renewable energy target and three energy efficiency scenarios (30%, 35% and 40%).

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