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Flick the energy revolution switch

Photo by Chirayu Trivedi on Unsplash

By rolling out electricity-based tech across key sectors Europe can slash its emissions by 2050, according to new research by BloombergNEF (BNEF).

The BNEF report says that through the electrification of the continent’s transport, buildings and industrial sectors, greenhouse-gas emissions can fall by 60% before the middle of the century.

“Electrification, or ‘sector coupling’ as it’s known in some countries, could make a huge contribution to the achievement of governments’ emission-reduction targets by exploiting the low-carbon transition already underway in the power generation sector,” said Victoria Cuming, head of global policy analysis for BNEF.

Citing direct actions, such as the adoption of electric vehicles in the transport sector, and indirect actions, like transitioning to green hydrogen as an alternative fuel for heating buildings, the paper calls on policymakers to introduce incentives, as well as laws to cut emissions.

Figure 1: Reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions over 2020-2050 with sector coupling in a country like U.K. or Germany

The electrification route, the report states, would result in power delivering around 60% of the energy needed by these sectors, up from 10% today. Full decarbonisation would not be delivered: the activities of elements within each, like aviation and shipping, making that impossible. Far more ambitious policies would be needed to move towards net-zero.

“The report confirms what electrification means for the decarbonisation of society and the unparalleled role of renewable energy in the years to come. Going forward, renewables can’t be part of the solution. They must be the solution,” added Henrik Sætness, SVP corporate strategy and analysis at Statkraft.

The BNEF report Sector Coupling in Europe: Powering Decarbonization was rritten in partnership with Eaton and Statkraft

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Iain Robertson
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