21 Feb (NucNet): The European Commission expects a “stable share of nuclear” in what would be a renewables-dominated European electricity mix by 2050, EU climate action and energy commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete told a conference in Brussels this week.
Mr Cañete said during a conference organised by the Romanian permanent representation to the EU that about 80% of the bloc’s electricity should come from renewable sources by 2050, with the remaining gap filled by nuclear energy.
The main benefits of the proposed electricity mix would be carbon neutrality, security of energy supply and a reduction of the EU’s dependency on energy imports, Mr Cañete said.
According to the European statistical office Eurostat, with the exception of peat and coke, the EU is a net importer of energy products. Crude oil largely dominates the EU imports in energy products with a share of 70% in 2018, followed by natural gas with 20%. In 2018 Russia remained the largest supplier of natural gas and petroleum oils to the EU, ahead of Norway.
According to Mr Cañete, 25% of the EU’s next multiannual financial framework (MMF) will go into supporting a massive deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies. The MFF is a seven-year financial framework which regulates the EU’s annual budgets by setting spending caps for a broad list of policy areas, including energy.
In November 2018, the EC published a strategy for a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, calling for the EU to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century.
The strategy recognises nuclear as one of the carbon-free energy sources in the EU’s energy mix, but warns that the future of nuclear energy will largely depend on both the technological developments and the regulatory field.
The share of renewables in electricity production is expected to be between 81% and 85% in 2050, compared to 57% in 2030 and 30% in 2015, the EC said. Among renewables, wind energy will represent about 56% of total generation, up from 26% in 2030 and 9% in 2015.
The strategy sees a 12% to 15% share of nuclear energy in power generation by 2050 compared to about 26% today and 18% in 2030.
Overall, the EC strategy calls for a reduction of 80-90% in greenhouse gas emissions in Europe’s electricity supply by 2050, coming from increased energy efficiency, generation from renewable sources and the deployment of carbon capture and storage technology.