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Europe to be ‘low-carbon’ powered by 2030

  • 13 years ago (2010-12-09)
  • Junior Isles
Europe 1072 Nuclear 644 Renewables 761

Low-carbon power sources should account for around 60 per cent of European electricity production by 2030, says the industry association Eurelectric.

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In the last year for which full data is available – 2008 – the figure was 46 per cent, the association notes in its Power Statistics 2010 report. This follows an impressive 60-fold increase in renewable energy capacity since 1980. Preliminary data for 2009 show the trend continuing, with new installation of wind (10.7 GW) outstripping more conventional generation (10 GW).

Non-hydro renewables are expected to deliver some 22 per cent of European electricity production in 2030, up from 7 per cent in 2008. Hydro power is expected to fall to 9 per cent from 11 per cent and nuclear plants are expected to deliver 29 per cent of European electricity production in 2030, up from 28 per cent in 2008.

As a result of this growth in low-carbon generation, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions have fallen to 374.6g/kWh in 2008 from 559.7g/kWh in 1980, and the association predicts a further fall to 230g/kWh by 2030. In terms of absolute emissions, the industry was responsible for 1,206 Gt of CO 2 in 2008, against 1,027 Gt in 1980, but this figure is expected to fall to 937 Gt in 2030.

The report reveals an even sharper decoupling of electricity production from emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO 2 ) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). SO 2 emissions by Europe’s power generators plunged to 3500 kt in 2008 from 17 000 kt in 1980, while NOx emissions dropped to 1500 kt from 3740 kt.