European report "debunks" criticism of renewable energy supplies as unreliable and costly
By James Murray, BusinessGreen, 29 Mar 2010
Europe could generate all the electricity it needs from renewable sources by the middle of the century, according to a major new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that rejects concerns about the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.
The report – which was contributed to by researchers from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the European Climate Forum – concludes it is technically feasible to produce a pan-continental supersmart grid powered by solar farms in North Africa, hydro electric plants in Scandinavia and the European Alps, onshore and offshore wind farms in the Baltic and North Sea, marine energy, and biomass power facilities.
Richard Gledhill, partner for sustainability and climate change at PwC, said the report "debunks some of the conventional criticisms of large-scale renewables" by demonstrating how "geographic and technological diversification can help address cost and security of supply concerns".
Significantly, the report predicts that the rapid deployment of renewable energy capacity at scale will bring down the cost of low-carbon technologies, resulting in energy that is cost competitive and can provide affordable electricity across the region.
The report accepts that nuclear power and carbon capture and storage are also likely to play a central role in decarbonising Europe's electricity supply, but argues that renewable energy could meet all the continent's electricity requirements if need be. "The technological capability for developing renewable forms of power generation is already in place, or emerging and envisaged, and the economics of the key technologies is improving, albeit in a difficult financing environment," it states.
The study includes a policy road map which outlines how Europe's leaders could transition away from fossil fuel-based power over the next four decades. ...