European energy sector powers towards a zero-carbon futureThe We Mean Business coalition
The transition to a zero-carbon energy sector in Europe has reached a decisive tipping point with EDF Energy joining the growing number of power utilities committed to aligning their emissions reductions with the goals of the Paris Agreement, through science-based targets.
With EDF’s commitment to set a science-based target, the region’s six largest utilities by market cap now either have an approved target or have committed to set one. Italy’s Enel, Spanish utility Iberdrola, France’s ENGIE and Danish power company Ørsted all have approved science-based targets, while EDF and UK grid-operator National Grid have committed to set one. EDF is also committed to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles with EV100, led by The Climate Group.
These commitments underline the transition underway in the European and global energy system towards a future powered by 100% clean, affordable and reliable energy, while eliminating dependence on fossil fuels. It’s a shift driven by growing corporate demand for renewable electricity, the falling cost of renewable production and escalating calls from civil society to address emissions from the power sector.
Bold commitments need to deliver decisive emissions reductions. For example, National Grid has already exceeded its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of 45% by 2020, with a 68% reduction in GHG emissions against 1990 baseline. While Ørsted accounts for more than half of Denmark’s entire CO2 reduction since 2006.
The power utilities committed to emission reductions and transitioning to renewable electricity production are harnessing the burgeoning demand from corporate customers. The number of companies committed to switching to 100% renewable electricity with RE100, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, has risen to over 225. This includes major European companies such as furniture giant Ingka Group (formerly IKEA Group), automaker BMW Group and UK telecoms company BT.
EU policy makers can harness this transition by supporting renewable energy deployment and a full phase out of coal-power in the region by 2030.
Governments can achieve this by:
- Enacting national renewable energy and 100% clean power targets,
- Enabling corporate procurement of renewables,
- Establishing a moratorium on new coal power and new coal finance,
- Adopting a coal phase-out date and developing plans to transition to renewable energy.
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