Europe can be 60% powered by solar before 2050. Perhaps it is not surprising a report co-produced by Europe’s solar industry places PV at the heart of a zero-carbon, mid-century energy system on the continent. However, the study does flesh out two out of three scenarios in which becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, or even 2040, could be possible. The 100% Renewable Europe: How to make Europe’s energy system climate neutral before 2050 report, by trade body SolarPower Europe and Finland’s Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology, claims to be the first study to model a fully renewable path to climate neutrality for the European energy system by mid-century. Three transformation paths featuring different rates of renewables adoption are compared to arrive at the conclusion the least ambitious path would be more expensive for European society and its economy. The “leadership” scenario envisages 100% renewable energy as early as 2040. The cheapest 100% renewables path – based on cumulative costs – is the “moderate scenario,” which would hit the 100% goal by 2050. In the “laggard” scenario, the authors assume 62% renewable energy by 2050. A central component of the study, and the first two scenarios, is that solar’s share of electrical generation would grow to 60% in Europe by 2050 and that from 2030, solar power would become the pillar of the energy system. Wind power, however, would be an important contributor under the two pathways and would remain the leading renewable energy source until 2030.
PV Magazine 16th April 2020 read more »