Decommissioning fossil fuel power plants between now and 2030 is essential if Europe is to hit its 2050 targets.
According to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report, the EU must not extend the lifespan of existing fossil fuel plants if it is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 95%.
It states power plant operators tend to prolong the lifespan of these inflexible and carbon-intensive plants but if this continues while new fossil fuel capacity is added, all fossil fuel power plants would need to severely restrict their activity.
The EEA suggests a better option would be for Europe to continuously track fossil fuel capacity and carbon intensity levels while increasing alignment of energy, climate and environmental policies.
That could maximise the benefits of renewables and speed up the transition to a secure, sustainable and competitive EU power sector, it adds.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said: “Europe is now generating four times more wind power and 70 times more solar power as in 2005.
“This is good news but a clear, forward-looking investment strategy is also necessary across the fossil fuel power sector to meet our long-term challenge to cut CO2 emissions. Europe is committed to decarbonise its economy so we cannot afford to tie up our investments in emission-intensive technologies. Investing in renewables and energy efficiency provides the best return on our money.”
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) recently called on nations to step up their emissions reduction pledges if the world is to meet the target of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C.
Issues such as decarbonisation, renewables and the role of nuclear power in the future will be discussed at the Energy Live 2016 conference along with a wide range of other energy topics. Limited free tickets are available for energy end users.