Monday

17th Jun 2019

Opinion

The press aren't doing their homework on 'costly' renewables

  • The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 has been hotly anticipated for months (Photo: European Community, 2005)

The European Commission’s Energy Roadmap 2050 has been hotly anticipated for months. Within minutes of its finally being published today, press releases and news alerts were flying around.

What a shame that some reporters were so keen to put the news out that they apparently failed to read the roadmap they were reporting on.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Misinformed articles are being published about the “high costs” of decarbonisation and renewables, as purportedly shown in the roadmap. But in fact, the roadmap shows that all the 2050 energy scenarios, including the high-use-of-renewables scenario and the business-as-usual scenario, would have the same “overall system costs”.

On the other hand, perhaps those reporters are basing their claims on the finding that the high-use-of-renewables scenario has a higher electricity price than other decarbonisation scenarios after 2030.

However, until 2030, electricity prices are set to increase just as much under business-as-usual scenarios with a low penetration of renewables as they are in the decarbonised scenarios. It is not decarbonisation or renewables that will cause price rises, but the need to invest in replacing ageing power plants and grids.

The increase post-2030 in the high-use-of-renewables scenario is the result of far-fetched assumptions such as offshore wind costing the same in 2050 as today or running 50 nuclear power reactors at 50-percent capacity; but also oil prices dropping from over $100 per barrel today to $70 per barrel in 2050, and no gas or carbon-capture-and-storage infrastructure costs being accounted for in the next 40 years. Despite this, the overall costs of the high-use-of-renewables scenario are the same as the other scenarios. And the scenario with the lowest possible cost is missing: the one that would have combined high use of renewables and high energy efficiency.

Those who are trying to claim that decarbonisation is costly and that this is due to renewables are mistaken or, quite simply, have not done their homework.

Stephane Bourgeois is the head of regulatory affairs at the European Wind Energy Association.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Lithuania faces funding gap in dismantling Chernobyl-type plant

A precondition for Lithuania's EU membership, the closure of its Chernobyl-type nuclear plant in Ignalina is behind schedule and faces a funding gap of €1.5 billion, Lithuania's energy minister has said. But experts question the way money was spent.

Divisive gas pipeline launched under EU banner

The leaders of Germany, the Netherlands and Russia, the prime minister of France and an EU commissioner have celebrated the launch of a new gas pipeline that some fear could be used to divide the EU.

Focus

Wind energy in figures

Europe is the world's biggest fan of wind energy. But other parts of the world, notably China, are catching up fast.

Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comin currently live outside Spain. They were prosecuted for the serious crimes, and they have fled justice. It is not possible to judge in absentia in Spain, where the justice system protects the rights of defendants.

Letter

MDIF responds to Orban criticism

In his response, Dr Zoltan Kovacs does not even try to refute my main point about Hungary: that most Hungarian news media have been captured by the state, and that this anti-democratic trend is spreading across Eastern Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Six takeaways on digital disinformation at EU elections

For example, Germany's primetime TV news reported that 47 percent of political social media discussions were related to the extreme-right AfD party, when in fact this was the case only for Twitter - used by only four percent of Germans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us