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Regional insight – EU

Ambitious renewables and efficiency targets mean the EU leads the transition towards a carbon-free economy

Highlights

-24% to -30%

Decline in primary energy 2020-2050

9% to 16%

Share of global hydrogen consumption in 2050

57% to 64%

Share of renewables in power generation by 2050

Under all three scenarios, the EU has the world’s largest share of renewables in primary energy, throughout the outlook?
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Oil demand in the EU peaks before 2025 in all three scenarios. Under Net Zero, consumption drops 90% by 2050
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Efficiency plays a key role in the EU’s decarbonization, with primary energy declining 24% over the outlook under Rapid

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Projections

  • The EU's economy grows at a rate of 1.0% per annum 2018-2050, down from 1.8% 1990-2018.
  • Primary energy consumption in the EU declines steeply in all three scenarios, primarily reflecting ambitious efficiency mandates in buildings and industry.
  • At the same time, renewables’ share of the primary energy mix increases sharply, reaching 58%, 63% and 39% in Rapid, Net Zero and Business-as-usual (BAU) respectively.
  • The growth in renewables is principally underpinned by wind power, which exceeds 12 EJ in all three scenarios by 2050. Rapid and Net Zero see similar levels of growth in solar at over 9 EJ.
  • Coal’s share of the EU power generation mix declines sharply under all scenarios, falling to zero in Rapid and Net Zero and just 5% by 2050 in BAU.
  • Nuclear output remains relatively stable under Net Zero, increasing its share in power generation slightly to 28% by 2050 from 26% today. Under Rapid this share falls to 15% and 10% under BAU.
  • Conversely, hydrogen’s share of the primary energy mix increases markedly under Rapid and Net Zero, growing to 7 EJ and 13 EJ respectively by 2050. The EU accounts for between 9% – 16% of global hydrogen demand by the end of the outlook, behind China and the US.
  • Production of all fossil fuels declines across all three scenarios in the EU, dropping by 93% in Rapid, and 82% under BAU.
  • Under all three scenarios demand for oil in the EU has already peaked. Biofuels demand continues to grow however, reaching 0.4 Mb/d by 2050 in BAU, 0.7 Mb/d in Rapid and 0.8 Mb/d in Net Zero.
  • These effects combine to reduce net CO2 emissions by 100% in the Net Zero scenario, 86% under Rapid and 56% under BAU.
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