New Electrification Alliance to drive Europe's decarbonisation

Industry groups representing wind and solar power, fuel cell batteries, copper and heat pumps combine to find decarbonisation solutions.
Published: Wed 28 Jun 2017

The Electrification Alliance wants electricity recognised as the best route to decarbonising Europe efficiently.

Members of the allianced include Eurelectric, SolarPower Europe, WindEurope, the European Copper Institute, the European Heat Pump Association, and the European association for battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles (AVERE). 

Electrification Alliance backs Paris Climate Agreement

According to the alliance, decarbonising Europe’s economy is critical if the Paris Agreement goal, to keep global warming below two degrees, is to be reached. The Alliance said in a statement that as fossil fuels are phased out, its true value in leading an efficient decarbonisation of Europe’s economy will be realised.

The alliance’s declaration insists it will support reductions in carbon intensity and the development and investment in renewables, energy storage and smart grids. In the text, the various groups set 2050 as the date by which Europe must be decarbonised and acknowledged the threat that climate change poses. 

Promoting sectoral integration with the heating, cooling and transport sectors is paramount according to the group.

Decarbonisation -room for improvement

The heads of the participating associations all agree that Europe is heading in the right direction. Eurelectric Secretary General Kristian Ruby claimed that “more electricity means cleaner energy”, adding that “electricity is becoming increasingly decarbonised, more efficient, sustainable and competitive”.

SolarPower Europe CEO James Watson said that almost 30% of European power comes from renewables and that predictions show more than half of electricity generation will be renewable-based within the decade. Watson added however that further electrification of the European economy “should go hand in hand with a dedicated strategy to deploy more renewables.”

WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said a “reasonable job” is being done of getting renewables into electricity, saying they now cover 29% of EU power demand. But he warned that electricity is currently only 22% of the region’s energy consumption and that “we’re doing less well” in the heating, cooling and transport sectors.

Electrification legislation reform needed

The alliance is calling for reforms under the current legislative review of European climate, energy and transport legislation, to speed up the future development of electrification.

It also calls for the removal of barriers that stand in the way of “much-needed” widespread electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to enable the deployment of smart and efficient heating and cooling technologies.

WindEurope’s Dickson also called on Brussels policymakers to ensure the “EU Clean Energy Package is strengthened” in terms of electrification, claiming it makes energy systems “more flexible”.

Bernard Respaut, the head of the European Copper Institute, said copper is the “material of choice” for the electrification of all sectors of the economy, adding ECI had been talking up electrification for the last two decades.

AVERE Secretary General Bert Witkamp shared his disappointment that there was little being done to electrify heavy vehicles and that the EU lags behind countries like China.

The e-mobility expert added that by 2030 e-cars will have a range of 700km but that legislative support for electrification is lacking. Private sector developments are the best route, according to the expert.

The Energy Union has made renewable resources its top priority. It's focus it to improve the environment, environmental security, economy and stimulate innovation. It has set out goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020— almost all EU member states have surpassed the goal for 2020, and by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions should decrease by 40%.