Power sector in 2030
1.5°C compatible emissions scenarios require a decrease in emissions intensity from 346 gCO₂/kWh in 2017 and 229 gCO₂/kWh in 2020 to around 50 gCO₂/kWh in 2030. This future decrease would mostly result from increasing the share of renewables in the power sector to between 88 and 90% by 2030. This 1.5°C compatible share in 2030 is much above the results of the European Commission’s analysis of 55% emissions reduction goal with a share of renewables set to increase to only between 60 and 67%. It is also more than 2.5-times higher than the share of renewables in the EU in 2019.
Renewables would need to replace coal, which should be phased out by 2029. The share of natural gas would need to decrease from 18% in 2017 to 4-5% in 2030. Contrary to the consumption of primary energy, consumption of electricity is set to increase in almost all scenarios, with the share of renewables reaching up to 88% in scenarios assuming low uptake of negative emissions post-2050.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
Increasing the share of renewables, combined with coal phase-out, a decreasing role of natural gas, and the deployment of negative emissions technologies starting in the 2030s results in power sector reaching zero emissions between 2035 and 2045, with negative emissions from then on.
In some scenarios by 2050 between 4-10% of electricity in the EU could be generated from BECCS installations. Scenarios assuming very high and early deployment of renewables (between 6-7 fold increase by 2050 in comparison to 2017), as well as those prioritising energy efficiency achieve zero emissions without BECCS by 2050.
By 2050 – and in some scenarios already by 2040 – almost all energy comes from renewables and BECCS. The share of fossil fuels decreases to less than 3% by 2040, and to 0% by 2050. Most of it would possibly be small combined heat and power plants, steadily replaced by low carbon alternatives. Coal and natural gas for electricity-only generation will be phased out by around 2029 for the former, and around 2037 for the latter.