Green energy would save EU trillions by 2050: report

Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:07am EDT
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By Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A green revolution to make EU energy almost totally carbon-free by 2050 would generate 3 trillion euros ($3.9 trillion) in fuel savings, a report commissioned by environmental campaigners said.

The energy shift would already create around half a million extra jobs by 2020, researchers from German aerospace center DLR, which also specializes in energy and transport, found.

The European Union has legislated to ensure that 20 percent of the energy mix is green by 2020, as part of a set of three main environmental goals.

But it has yet to achieve agreement on binding targets beyond 2020, even though non-binding roadmaps have laid out the need for a virtually carbon-free electricity mix by 2050.

Commissioned by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), the 2012 Energyevolution report lays out steps towards almost carbon-free energy. They include curbing energy demand through greater efficiency, increasing investment in wind and solar power and phasing out subsidies for carbon-intensive energy, such as coal.

To bring about the energy transformation, it sees a need to invest about 99 billion euros between now and 2050, but it says the financial gains are much greater.

"Because renewable energy has no fuel costs, the fuel cost savings in the Energyevolution scenario reach a total of 3,010 billion euros up to 2050, or 75 billion per year," the report said.

Another benefit is job-creation. The report finds almost totally green energy would lead to half a million extra jobs compared with business as usual, as renewable energy initially demands more workers than carrying on with fossil fuel.   Continued...

Cows are seen in front of wind turbines in a wind farm of BKW in Mont Soleil in the Jura region, western Switzerland October 7, 2010. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer