According to a new report, ramping up cost-effective investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency can help the European Union cut its dependency on natural gas by half. The analysis also found this measure could reduce carbon emissions by 49 percent or more, or drop emissions below the 1990 level by 2030, more than is currently proposed. The report was released just days before the European Council meets to set new climate change targets.
The study, “Increasing the EU’s Energy Independence: A No-Regrets Strategy for Energy Security and Climate Change,” was authored by international consultants Ecofys as part of the Open Climate Network (OCN). The report finds that natural gas consumption can be halved overall by implementing cost-effective measures that accelerate the use of renewable energy and efficiency improvements in industry, buildings and energy supply.
Relative to current projections, these measures can achieve:
- 58% reduction in gas consumption from buildings (equal to 23% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU);
- 20% reduction in gas consumption from industry (equal to 5% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU); and
- 63% reduction in gas consumption from power generation (equal to 19% of all natural gas presently consumed by EU).
Replacing natural gas imports with clean alternatives will enhance Europe’s stability in energy supply, increasing resilience to possible interruption from unstable suppliers.
“Contrary to popular belief, Europe can be energy independent,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director of the Climate and Energy Program at World Resources Institute. “This analysis shows that the EU can cut natural gas imports in half without raising costs for consumers. This is a win-win approach for the EU, increasing its energy security and raising the bar for climate action.”