Towards fossil-free energy in 2050

Building the infrastructure to decarbonise the EU’s energy system by 2050 through large amounts of green gas is projected to be up to 36% more expensive than through energy efficiency and smart electrification, even in European countries with a cold climate, according to “Towards fossil-free energy in 2050”, conducted by Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, and commissioned by the European Climate Foundation.

Download the report here

Download the launch presentation slides here

It finds that fossil-free energy systems in Europe by 2050 are feasible in different configurations and can come with benefits from a socio-economic point of view compared to a current policies baseline:

  • 1.8 million additional jobs could be created by 2050. The report does find large structural shifts between sectors, away from fossil-fuel reliant industries towards electrical engineering and manufacturing. Efforts will need to be made to ensure workers are retrained for quality jobs in the growth sectors of the future.
  • European families, aggregated across Europe, could save up to €23 billion in energy spending;
  • A 2.1% boost to EU GDP.

The key is to unlock building renovations and smart electrification of road transport and heating sectors as these bring important benefits compared to passive and inefficient energy systems:

  • A 54% reduction in thermal back-up needs;
  • Renewables curtailment drops by 70% in total;
  • 22% lower infrastructure investment as building renovations reduce peak energy demand in buildings.

The report provides a practical guide to fossil free energy systems by 2050 as part of the European Net Zero Economy goal.

The full energy system modelling results for the archetypes studied, as well as the cost assumptions used are available for download here: