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Regional insight – EU

Published:
14 March 2022
The EU is in a rapid process of decarbonization, even in the New Momentum scenario carbon emissions are reduced by over 50% while Net Zero achieves negative emissions by 2050

Highlights

Over 20%

decline in primary energy in 2019-2050 in all scenarios

54% to 78%

share of renewables in primary energy in 2050

20% to 30%

growth in electricity generation in 2019-205

0 to 1 GtCO₂e

level of carbon emissions by 2050

Energy efficiency plays a significant role in European policies, leading to a primary energy decline of around 1% per year
 
Renewables are the only source of energy that shows growth across all scenarios
 
Clean hydrogen emerges as a key energy carrier to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors in industry and transport

 

Projections

  • Total final consumption decreases in all three scenarios, showing the decisive role of energy efficiency policies. Total final consumption declines between 33% and 52% in 2019-2050.
  • In this context, primary energy also decreases in all three scenarios, showing. Average decline per year is 0.7%-1.1%.
  • Despite this decline in primary energy, renewables grow strongly in all scenarios, boosted by climate policies. In 2019-2050 average renewables growth is between 2.9% and 3.8%.
  • The share of fossil fuels in primary energy shifts from 68% in 2019 to 35%, 12%, and 6% in New Momentum, Accelerated and Net Zero scenario in 2050, respectively.
  • The rapid decarbonization of the European economy is supported by the strong growth of electricity and clean hydrogen production. Electricity generation grows 0.6%-0.8% per year in 2019-2050, supported by the rapid growth in renewable energy. The production of hydrogen increases twofold in the New Momentum, fivefold in Accelerated, and sixfold in the Net Zero scenario.
  • Carbon emissions declines significantly in all three scenarios. In the New Momentum scenario, the level of emissions is around 1 GtCO₂ in 2050 from 3 GtCO₂ in 2019.
  • In Accelerated and Net Zero scenarios, the energy system is deeply decarbonized. In the Accelerated scenario, the level of emissions is around 0.2 GtCO2 and negative in Net Zero. Both scenarios have substantial CCUS (carbon capture, usage and storge) for hard-to-abate sectors.