EU Energy [R]evolution

“will we look into the eyes
of our children and confess
that we had the opportunity,
but lacked the courage?
that we had the technology,
but lacked the vision?
Željko Serdar

                                    President & CEO, CCRES

EU Energy [R]evolution: moving towards 100% renewables in 2050
Forty years ago, climate change was unheard of, fossil fuels were plentiful and renewable energy from wind,
water, sun and heat was little more than a dream. Since then, Europe has developed green energy
technologies and adopted strong targets for the growth of the sector over coming years. The EU Energy
[R]evolution roadmap, commissioned by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC),
looks at the potential for the next forty years. It demonstrates how Europe can move towards an efficient and
fully renewable energy system to ensure security of energy supply, create green jobs, cut CO2 emissions and
rising energy prices, and encourage innovation.
The EU Energy [R]evolution achieves the 95% cut in emissions by 2050 called for by climate scientists to avoid
the worst impacts of climate change. It also phases out expensive and risky nuclear electricity and ends
Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels. These are replaced by a flexible mix of available and cost-effective
renewables for electricity, heat generation and transport.
The Energy [R]evolution demonstrates how renewable energy can cover 92% of the EU’s total energy use and
97% of electricity by 2050, moving Europe towards a 100% renewable energy supply.
This requires
substantial energy savings through efficiency technologies, improved public transport systems and a shift of
freight transport from road to rail. Smart building design, the use of renewable heating technologies and the
use of electricity from renewables for industrial processes can replace the use of fossil fuels in the heating
sector. The swift phase-out of nuclear and coal power production, the uptake of electric vehicles and the
implementation of smart and super grids to allow flexible and localised electricity output and consumption
allows for the smooth integration of up to 100% renewable electricity.

Costs and savings
Investment in green energy will nudge up the
cost of electricity in the short to medium
term. But this is an investment that pays off:
the Energy [R]evolution will save a total of
€2.65 trillions in fuel costs and represents
and immediate investment in jobs and energy
security. It denotes a revolution that will give
Europe a global competitive advantage on
technology and act as a beacon for other
regions looking to steer a course away from
dangerous climate change. By 2050, the
annual cost of electricity supply will be €132
billion per year below what it would be under
a business as usual scenario. Even taking
into account the cost of investment, cutting
the use of fossil fuels would save European
economies an average of €19 billion every
year up to 2050.

Thanks to higher efficiency and a shift to electrified
transportation, fuel cost savings in the heating and
transport sectors are expected to slash energy prices
even faster than is the case for electricity.
2 Other
savings are expected to benefit the economy, such as
avoided environmental and health costs.
Finally, the Energy [R]evolution predicts the creation of
hundreds of thousands of additional jobs in Europe. By
2020, the scenario forecasts about 940,000 jobs in the
renewable power industry, increasing to 1.2 million jobs
in 2030. Job losses in the fossil fuel sector due to a
reduced coal generation capacity are
overcompensated by growing renewable power

Comparisons with other scenarios
When compared to other EU energy roadmaps for
2050, the Energy [R]evolution is politically ambitious,
but based on realistic assumptions that can deliver
flexible energy production and consumption closer to
local businesses and communities. A secure and
balanced mix of energy sources for Europe’s energy
system makes the Energy [R]evolution the most
sustainable and credible blueprint for a genuine energy
The Energy [R]evolution achieves substantial emission
reductions while phasing out nuclear power and
without the use of carbon capture and storage
technology, which are risky, expensive and unable to
deliver in time to avoid runaway climate change. It
combines significant energy savings with a mix of
largely decentralised renewable energy production and
the sensible use of large-scale offshore wind and
concentrated solar thermal power production. The use
of biomass in the Energy [R]evolution only relies on
residues from agriculture and forestry.

Policy recommendations
The central challenge to achieving the Energy [R]evolution is implementation. Today, three quarters of primary
energy supply comes from fossil fuels. To achieve large-scale and cost-effective growth of renewable energy
and resource-efficient technologies, a balanced and timely mobilisation of private and public investment is
needed. These will largely rely on policy incentives to ensure that conventional power sources are replaced by
clean ones.
Greenpeace urges the European Union and its member states to make rapid progress in five areas:
1. A truly sustainable energy economy vision for 2050 that guides European climate and energy policy. This
should explore the benefits and feasibility of a fully renewable energy system and the development of a
credible emission reduction pathway.
2. Ambitious targets for emission reductions, energy savings and renewable energy. Legally binding domestic
EU emission reductions of at least 30% by 2020, mandatory energy savings targets and the
implementation of the 20% renewable energy target.
3. Removal of barriers for renewables. The
electricity market and network
management practices should be subject
to a thorough reform. All subsidies and
support measures for nuclear power, fossil
fuels and inefficient plants, appliances,
vehicles and buildings should be removed.
Energy prices should reflect the genuine
costs of fossil fuels and nuclear energy
4. Effective policies to promote a clean
economy. An update of the European
Emissions Trading Scheme that removes
loopholes, the effective implementation of
the renewable energy directive and
ambitious energy efficiency standards for
vehicles, consumer appliances, buildings
and power production.
5. Redirecting public finance. EU structural
and cohesion funds should be redirected
towards renewable energy and energy
savings, and targeted support for
innovation and research in energy saving
technologies.More info at