An ambitious doubling of renewables could halve Europe’s gas consumption for electricity, according to a report by the Finnish energy technology company Wartsila.
Because of his report Europe’s energy future the company is calling on European leaders to implement cross-country coordination and investment to deliver up to 80 GW of renewable capacity per year, supported by flexible balancing technologies.
According to the approach modeled in the report, the share of renewable energy in electricity generation could increase from about 33 percent today to more than 60 percent by 2030 and could – it is claimed – increase annual gas consumption in the electricity sector across the continent by 52 percent. by 2030. This would allow the region to avoid 5,456 TWh of gas consumption (the equivalent of 3.5 years of Russian gas supply to the EU)
The report is based on models from 33 European countries, including 27 EU Member States, plus the UK, Norway, Switzerland and the Balkans. The costs of running existing fossil fuel and renewable energy plants are included, as are fuel costs where relevant, plus associated carbon emissions. Wind and solar PV are modeled with their hourly generation profiles based on predicted weather conditions, as well as required balancing technologies to balance variable renewable generation. Modeled technology options include various renewables, such as wind, solar PV and geothermal, thermal technologies from gas engines and turbine power plants, plus nuclear, storage technologies, such as battery and pump storage, and technologies to produce sustainable fuels.
The report also claims that this large-scale investment in renewable energy would reduce electricity bills by as much as 10 percent. Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy and EVP, Wärtsilä, said: “Reducing Europe’s reliance on expensive baseload fossil fuels and increasing energy independence doesn’t have to cost power companies or energy consumers. Accelerating the transition to a clean energy system could save EUR 323/USD 356 billion by 2030 compared to continuing the current rate of growth of renewables.”
To achieve the scenario modeled by Wärtsilä, European countries would have to jointly add 80 GW of new renewable capacity on average each year until 2030. and future-proof balancing motors that can run on sustainable fuels.
“There is now broad support in the European Parliament for a 45% renewable energy target to urgently reduce Europe’s reliance on the volatile gas market in the cheapest and cleanest way possible,” said Jan Andersson, General Manager, Market Development, Africa & Europe. Wartsila energy. “Our modeling shows that going further – increasing the share of renewables to over 60 percent – would nearly halve gas consumption in the energy sector, while delivering major energy savings for European households.”