All but two EU member states have pledged that no money will be invested in new coal plants from the year 2020, as the bloc works on decarbonising in light of the Paris Climate targets.
The announced comes from energy union Eurelectric, a group representing 3,500 energy companies across the continent. The statement authorised by the group’s board of directors said: “The European electricity sector believes that achieving the decarbonisation objectives agreed in the Paris Agreement is essential to guarantee the long-term sustainability of the global economy.”
It restated the group’s commitment to “delivering a carbon neutral power supply in Europe by 2050, and to ensuring a competitively prices and reliable electricity supply throughout the integrated European energy market.”
The multi-faceted approach to decarbonising the electricity supply involves investing in more renewable generators each year, as well as refraining from investing in any new build coal fired plants from 2020 onwards. 26 or the EU’s 28 member states have agreed to the plan, with only Poland and Greece absenting.
The UK has already committed to closing down all coal based power stations by 2025. Significant progress towards this goal has already been made, with just nine remain active plants remaining, many of which are due to either close or convert to using biomass within the next two years.
The EU’s power sector is already moving along the right track, with a recent study showing that the rollout of renewable energy generators within the bloc has played a big part in a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2005.
This latest commitment cements and reinforces this progress.
Eurelectric President, Antonio Mexia, said: “The power sector is determined to lead the energy transition and back our commitment to the low- carbon economy with concrete action.”
He added that progress within the power sector should be complimented by similar work in sectors like transport.
He said: “With power supply becoming increasingly clean, electric technologies are an obvious choice for replacing fossil fuel based systems for instance in the transport sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Eurelectric highlighted the importance of broader policy instruments and market mechanisms required to help the continent achieve its aims as set by the Paris Agreement.
In particular, mechanisms like carbon markets and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), act as efficient tools for “mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating investments in low carbon technologies and energy efficiency.”