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A brighter energy future for Europe

Forging a Joint Commitment to Sustainable and Cost-efficient Energy Transition in Europe – A EURELECTRIC report prepared in collaboration with Accenture

Overview

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European electricity prices are rising fast. As a result, the overall increase in energy expenditure is putting mounting pressure on residential end-users and undermining the competitiveness of European industry. The implementation of the energy transition has so far lacked optimization on a pan-European scale. Without a concerted effort to more effectively manage the costs of the energy transition, expenditure on electricity and gas in 2030 could be 50 percent higher than it is today.

A step-change in the reshaping of the European energy system is needed — by reconfirming the European power sector’s support for Europe’s sustainability agenda through an optimized approach that avoids unnecessary costs. Doing so would put significant benefits within reach: our analysis shows that implementing an integrated set of levers could generate net savings of €27 to €81 billion per year by 2030. Such savings could be achieved by further integrating energy markets and the supporting regulatory framework at a European level and by leveraging flexibility throughout the electricity value chain — provided utilities, governments, regulators and consumers can forge a joint commitment to work together.

 

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Background

The European energy landscape is being transformed through a combination of decarbonization, liberalization and security of supply policies. The EU has made a unilateral commitment for 2020 that should see greenhouse gas emissions reduced by 20 percent compared to 1990 levels. The drive for economic competitiveness is well advanced, with the first and second liberalization directives now transposed into national law by all Member States, and the 3rd Energy Package currently being implemented. And since 2000, security of supply has significantly improved, with the EU now aiming to reduce fossil energy imports by 26 percent by 2020, as well as cutting energy consumption by almost 15 percent. The Commission’s proposal for the 2030 Energy and Climate goals show that the 2020 agenda is only a first step in a long-term transition process.

Key Findings

What can be done to optimize the energy system? Our analysis shows that the solution to achieving a more cost-efficient energy transition lies in implementing an integrated set of levers across the electricity value chain — from generation, trading, transmission and distribution through to retail and consumption.
  1. Optimizing renewable energy systems

  2. Market integration

  3. Active system management

  4. Demand response and energy saving

Recommendations

Stakeholders from all sides, including policymakers, consumer organizations, industry and the energy sector, have recognized the major impact of the rising energy expenditure on Europe’s households and industry, and all share a sense of urgency about the issue. Still, we see a considerable gap between awareness and action.

Going beyond shared recognition, all partners need to work together towards the common goal and on a pan-European basis, reaching across country boundaries. The energy sector, policymakers and regulators, consumer representatives, industrial players, and environmental groups need to bridge their differences.

With this cooperative mindset, utilities can underline their commitment to securing an effective, efficient energy transition by focusing greater effort on the distribution, retail and consumption end of the value chain.


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