Europe could be able to say goodbye to fossil fuels and create its own self-sufficient energy sector in the foreseeable future. According to a new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), even as early as 2040 – if Europe were to invest roughly two trillion euros in its energy independence (two thousand billion euros, i.e. less than fifty thousand billion crowns. For comparison with the current state budget, such an amount was enough for 25 years of the functioning of the Czech Republic). The results of the study were reported by Reuters, whose materials were provided by the institute.
According to the report, these would mainly be investments in renewable sources such as solar or wind power plants. However, in order to achieve independence, Europe would need to invest every year until 2030 140 billion euros (3.4 trillion crowns) and then 100 billion euros per year (2.4 trillion crowns) for the next ten years.
If Europe invested such money in development, its electricity consumption could theoretically be fully covered by green sources as early as 2030. According to the study, the supply of energy from renewable sources would have to grow by 20 percent per year to cover the expected electricity demand by 2030 .
According to scientists, the largest part of the money should be directed to the expansion of the network of onshore wind power plants, and other pillars of the strategy could also be solar, hydrogen or geothermal sources.
It would then take another ten years for the entire energy system, including, for example, heating, which is currently fueled by oil or gas, to reorient itself to renewable sources.
“These numbers are quite large, but it is important to remember that European countries spent an estimated additional 792 billion euros (about 19.5 trillion crowns) last year just to protect consumers from the effects of the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” cites a Reuters study.
The client of the study is Aquila Group, which deals with investments and asset development and is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany. However, according to Hans Schellnhuber, director of PIK and member of the Aquila Group advisory board, energy self-sufficiency is only the first step.
“For complete carbon neutrality, the demand for heat and the necessary electrification of industry must be taken into account. In addition to the use of wind and solar energy, geothermal resources can further fill the gaps in these areas,” Schenllhuber said in an Aquila Group press release.
In September, European lawmakers finally approved legally binding targets for a faster expansion of renewable energy sources over the course of this decade, which are a key part of Europe’s plans to curb climate change and shift away from fossil fuels. This law increases the EU’s renewable energy targets and requires that 42.5 percent of the EU’s energy be produced from renewable sources by 2030. That tops the previous target, which called for 32 percent renewable energy, Reuters reports.