Europe’s power sector can be decarbonised by 2045.
That’s the prediction made in a new report published by EY, which says this would require substantial investment, smart grid innovation and the improvement of electricity distribution networks.
It suggests by this point, electrification could reach across 63% of the European economy, with new load coming from the transport, heating and industrial sectors.
In this scenario, EY believes onshore wind capacity would triple from current levels to more than 640GW, with offshore wind expanding to 470GW and solar capacity increasing seven-fold to total 950GW – as a result of such growth, EY forecasts renewable generation would provide in excess of 80% of Europe’s energy needs.
The report claims this intermittent generation would be supported by up to 150GW of demand-side flexibility to be available by 2045, supplied by a mix of households, commercial and industrial consumers.
It expects the increasing affordability of battery technology and accessibility of charging points to mean electric vehicles’ share of the market will rise from around 2% of new vehicle sales in 2018 to a third of the new car market by 2030.
EY stresses the role of distribution system operators is crucial to connect new capacity to the grid as it is needed and bolster system resilience as appropriate – it suggests distributed energy resources and digital technologies should be used to effectively regulate power flows and to harness flexibility.