Power sector in 2030
The emissions intensity of electricity generation in the EU fell from 301 gCO₂e/kWh in 2017 to 231 gCO₂e/kWh in 2020. This decrease was mainly due to an increase in the share of renewables to 39% in in the same time period. The 1.5°C compatible emissions scenarios require a decrease in emissions intensity 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 77-79% by 2030 compared to 2019. 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 around 65%.
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. According to the scenarios, natural gas consumption for electricity generation could be phased out between 2037-2040. 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 by 2030, a decreasing role of natural gas and its phase-out before 2040, 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 negative emissions technologies (NETs) such as 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 NETs by 2050.
By 2050 – and in some scenarios already by 2040 – almost all energy comes from renewables and NETs (in this case 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.