“The October Council should strengthen the EU’s commitment to renewables, which is the most cost-effective option for the EU’s future energy mix”, says Bastian Hermisson, Director of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union. “The costs of ‘business as usual’ hurt the environment, health and the economy. In the medium and long term, a renewable strategy would prove to be much cheaper for the EU than a conventional strategy.”
The French version of the study ‘Renewables: The Only Path to a Secure, Affordable and Climate-friendly Energy System by 2030’, published today by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union, demonstrates that renewable energy becomes cheaper while fossil fuels and nuclear power becomes more expensive. This is even more true if the external costs of climate damage or insurance against the risk of nuclear accidents, for example, are factored in. The need for back-up systems for variable renewables such as wind and solar does not change this calculation. Together with a reduction of energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency, total energy costs for European industries and citizens could even fall.
“The ageing European powerplant fleet will need to be modernised in the next years. Technologies such as solar and onshore wind achieve nearly the same cost per megawatt hour as new plants generating electricity from conventional sources”, according to Silvia Brugger, Climate and Energy Programme Director at the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in Brussels. “But we are on the wrong path at the moment: an increasing use of coal and costly initiatives to subsidise new nuclear plants are overshadowing progress in renewable energy deployment.”
Renewables not only drastically reduce emissions and other environmental and social burdens; they also reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, strengthen local economies, and create jobs. A clear and reliable policy framework with ambitious renewable energy targets is necessary to ensure a cost-effective low-carbon pathway.
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