EU renewable electricity has reduced environmental pressures; targeted actions help further reduce impacts
We need to invest in a green recovery to restart the economy. The European Green Deal puts climate change mitigation at the core of its efforts to recover sustainably from the COVID-19 crisis. Renewable electricity could increase to 70% of all power generation by 2030 to allow a net 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Despite multiple benefits for human health and the environment associated with the reduction in fossil fuel use for energy, increasing renewable power supply is not impact free. Concerns have been raised that renewable electricity could shift environmental burdens in ways that do not always lower overall pressures. This briefing investigates changes in the electricity mix since 2005, and their trade-offs from a life cycle perspective to help policymakers and individuals focus on areas that offer opportunities for improvement.
Cross-border cooperation on renewable energy
This briefing looks at the challenges posed by cross-border cooperation on renewable energy. It analyses the barriers holding countries back and makes recommendations to overcome the challenges, based on the experience of three case studies on cooperation between Denmark and Germany, Norway and Sweden, and Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Renewable energy in Europe: key for climate objectives, but air pollution needs attention
The European energy system is undergoing rapid changes to set the EU economy on a low-carbon and resource-efficient path. Renewable energy is instrumental to this transformation. EU efforts to double the share of renewable energy in its consumption have paid off, having reduced significantly the amount of fossil fuels used and their associated greenhouse gas emissions. Concerning air pollutant emissions however, the outcomes were not always positive: in countries where biomass burning has increased considerably since 2005, emissions of certain air pollutants have also increased. This briefing presents an estimate of the impact of renewable energy consumption on fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and air pollution since 2005.