BRUSSELS - September 27 - The 'Greenpeace Energy
Revolution Scenario'(1), launched today by Greenpeace, shows that Europe
can phase out nuclear power and, at the same time, reduce its carbon
dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30 per cent by 2020 to avoid catastrophic
The electricity sector in the 25 European Union nations is still
dominated by large centralised power plants using fossil and nuclear
fuels. As much as 80% of Europe's primary energy supply still comes from
fossil fuels. The 'Greenpeace Energy Revolution Scenario' shows that
half of Europe's energy demand could switch to renewable energy sources
and CO2 emissions could be reduced by nearly 75% by 2050. It also shows
that, if the EU fails to reform its energy sector however, CO2 emissions
will increase by almost 50% by 2050.
"This blueprint maps out how to build a future based on clean, renewable
energy sources, independent of imported fossil and nuclear fuels. This
will not only protect the climate, it will insulate national economies
from the fluctuations of the global markets for fossil and nuclear
fuels, benefit the economy and provide secure access to energy for
future generations. In the short term, it could also create 700,000 jobs
by 2010. Half of Europe's total energy demand could be covered from
renewable energy sources by the year 2050," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace
International energy expert.
The pathway to a clean energy future requires European governments to:
* set legally binding targets for the use of renewable energy for power,
heat and transport
* implement a balanced and timely mobilisation of clean technologies,
which will depend on technical potentials, actual costs and cost
reduction potentials (2).
* give renewable energy guaranteed and priority access to the grid
* shift their investment away from fossil and nuclear fuels, starting by
eliminating direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuels and nuclear
power, which would save taxpayers' money (3).
"There is no quick fix when it comes to the power sector - investments
and solutions are long-term. Renewable energies have slightly higher
costs now, but most of them will be cheaper in less than 15 years. It is
also clear that these results can only be achieved in time, if we start
this drastic shift in the power sector without any delay," said Teske.
The 'Greenpeace Energy Revolution Scenario' can only be achieved if
concrete and ambitious action is taken in energy efficiency measures.
The exploitation of existing energy efficiency potentials such as the
insulation of houses, the use of "waste-heat" from power plants for
district heating instead of discharging it via cooling towers and the
efficient use of electricity could reduce the current primary energy
demand by more than one third (36%) till 2050. "We don't have to freeze
in the dark, we just have to use the produced energy as efficient and
intelligent as possible," added Teske.
According to the Greenpeace blueprint, the electricity sector will
continue to be the forerunner of renewable energy: In 2050, more than
70% of the electricity is to be produced from renewable energy sources,
followed by renewables in the heating sector, which will produce more
than half of the needed energy.
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses
non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental
problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and
Notes to the editor:
(1). Developed by the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics of the
German Aerospace Centre 'Energy Revolution: a sustainable pathway to a
clean energy future for Europe' is available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/energy-revolution-a-sustainab
(2). Without considering the costs for CO2 emissions, the Energy
Revolution Scenario will have additional costs for electricity supply to
a maximum of 6 billion €/a in 2020 - for all 25 European countries.
These additional costs, which represent society's investment in a future
environmentally benign, safe, and economic energy supply, continue to
decrease after 2020, and by 2050 the annual costs of electricity supply
will be 10 billion €/a below the electricity supply costs in the
business as usual scenario.
(3). In 2004, the European Environment Agency estimated that energy
subsidies in the EU 15 for solid, oil and gas amounted to more than 23.9
billion and for renewable energy to 5.3 billion.
Today, renewable energy sources account for 6% of the EU-25 countries'
primary energy production. Biomass, which is used primarily for heating,
is the main renewable energy source. The share of renewable energies for
electricity generation is 15%, with hydro power plants being the largest
source. The contribution of renewables to primary energy demand for heat
supply is around 9%.