Primary project information
Lead: European Commission
Additional project partners: European Institutions, Member States and stakeholders
Date conducted: 2011
Date of Publication: 15.12.2011
Summary: In the Energy Roadmap 2050 the Commission explores the challenges posed by delivering the EU's decarbonisation objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness. The Energy Roadmap 2050 is the basis for developing a long-term European framework together with all stakeholders. Irrespective of the particular energy mix chosen, there are a number of common elements in all decarbonisation scenarios: (1) The demand for renewable energy will grow, (2) Energy savings will be crucial, (3) The role for electricity will increase, (4) Capital investments will increase and (5) The fossil fuel bill will decrease. As some conclusions, ten structural changes for energy system transformation are defined: (1) Decarbonisation is possible – and can be less costly than current policies in the long-run, (2) Higher capital expenditure and lower fuel costs, (3) Electricity plays an increasing role, (4) Electricity prices rise until 2030 and then decline, (5) Household expenditure will increase, (6) Energy savings throughout the system are crucial, (7) Renewables rise substantially, (8) Carbon capture and storage has to play a pivotal role in system transformation, (9) Nuclear energy provides an important contribution and (10) Decentralisation and centralised systems increasingly interact [7ff]
Financed by: EU
Research area/market/industry/sector: energy system, transportation, decarbonisation, energy efficiency, construction sector,
Main report (full title): COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PARLIAMENT, THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL - Energy Roadmap 2050 - COM(2011) 885 final
Economic Challenges: higher public and private investments in R&D and technological innovation 
Economic Challenges Shortlist: ncy; access to energy market; Increase public and private investments in R&D and technological innovation
Societal Challenges: Cross-cutting: The social dimension of the energy roadmap is important. The transition will affect employment and jobs, requiring education and training and a more vigorous social dialogue. As energy poverty is one of the sources of poverty in Europe, the social aspects of energy pricing should be reflected in the energy policy of Member States.
Societal Challenges Shortlist: Address effects of energy transition on jobs and employment; Need for special education and training, and more vigorous social dialogue to make energy transition possible; Reflect social aspects of energy pricing in energy policy
Technical Challenges Shortlist: energy storage technologies;
Cross-cutting Challenges: Energy efficiency has to be included in a wide range of economic activities from, for example, IT systems development to standards for consumer appliances [9, 10]. An increasingly important feature of the required technology shifts is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in energy and transport and for smart urban applications. This is leading to the convergence of industrial value chains for smart urban infrastructure and applications which need to be encouraged to secure industrial leadership. The digital infrastructure that will make the grid smart will also require support at EU level by standardisation and research and development in ICT .
Cross-cutting Challenges Shortlist: Inclusion of energy efficiency in wide range of economic activities (from IT system development to standards for consumer applicances); Support development of digital infrastructure for smart grids
Other Challenges: In transport, a mix of several alternative fuels will be needed to replace oil, with specific requirements of the different modes. Biofuels will probably be a main option for aviation, long-distance road transport, and rail where it can not be electrified .
Other Challenges Shortlist: Support mix of several alternative fules to replace oil in transport
Summary of relevant aspects
Connecting fields: Storage technologies - greater efficiencies in their use and competitive costs require improved infrastructure for integration across Europe .
Aspects of ERA Governance: In the transition to 2050, Europe needs to secure and diversify its supply of fossil fuels while
at the same time develop cooperation to build international partnerships on a broader
at the same time develop cooperation to build international partnerships on a broader
Aspects of RTI Governance: Now more than ever, coordination is required. Energy policy developments need to take full account of how each national electricity system is affected by decisions in neighbouring countries. Working together will keep cost down and ensure security of supply .
Other Aspects of Governance: In implementing the Roadmap, the EU will need to consider progress, and concrete action, in other countries. The opportunities for trade and cooperation will require a level-playing field beyond the European borders . A broader and more coordinated EU approach to international energy relations must become the norm, including redoubling work to strengthen international climate action .
Surprising Issues: Nuclear energy will be needed to provide a significant contribution in the energy transformation process in those Member States where it is pursued. It remains a key source of low carbon electricity generation. The highest penetration of nuclear comes in Delayed CCS and Diversified supply technologies scenarios (18 and 15% in primary energy respectively) which show the lowest total energy costs .
Background information: In the „Energy Roadmap 2050” the Commission explores the challenges posed by delivering the EU's decarbonisation objective while at the same time ensuring security of energy supply and competitiveness . It responds to a request from the European Council (Extraordinary European Council, 4 February 2011). Member States and investors need concrete milestones. The Low carbon economy roadmap has already indicated greenhouse gas emission milestones. The next step is to define the 2030 policy framework, reasonably foreseeable and the focus of most current investors. On this basis, the Commission will continue to bring forward initiatives, starting with comprehensive proposals on the internal market, renewable energy and nuclear safety next year.
Scenarios: The scenarios in this Energy Roadmap 2050 explore routes towards decarbonisation of the energy system. (1)Current trend scenarios: (1.1.) Reference scenario: The Reference scenario includes current trends and long-term projections on economic development (gross domestic product (GDP) growth 1.7% pa). The scenario includes policies adopted by March 2010, including the 2020 targets for RES share and GHG reductions as well as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Directive. For the analysis, several sensitivities with lower and higher GDP growth rates and lower and higher energy import prices were analysed. (1.2.) Current Policy Initiatives (CPI). This scenario updates measures adopted, e.g. after the Fukushima events following the natural disasters in Japan, and being proposed as in the Energy 2020 strategy; the scenario also includes proposed actions concerning the "Energy Efficiency Plan" and the new "Energy Taxation Directive" [overview: 4ff].
Scenario 1: (1)Current trend scenarios: (1.1) Reference scenario. The Reference scenario includes current trends and long-term projections on economic development (gross domestic product (GDP) growth 1.7% pa). The scenario includes policies adopted by March 2010, including the 2020 targets for RES share and GHG reductions as well as the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Directive. For the analysis, several sensitivities with lower and higher GDP growth rates and lower and higher energy import prices were analysed. (1.2.) Current Policy Initiatives (CPI). This scenario updates measures adopted, e.g. after the Fukushima events following the natural disasters in Japan, and being proposed as in the Energy 2020 strategy; the scenario also includes proposed actions concerning the "Energy Efficiency Plan" and the new "Energy Taxation Directive" .
Scenario 2: (2) Decarbonisation scenarios: (2.1.) High Energy Efficiency. Political commitment to very high energy savings; it includes e.g. more stringent minimum requirements for appliances and new buildings; high renovation rates of existing buildings; establishment of energy savings obligations on energy utilities. This leads to a decrease in energy demand of 41% by 2050 as compared to the peaks in 2005-2006. (2.2.) Diversified supply technologies. No technology is preferred; all energy sources can compete on a market basis with no specific support measures. Decarbonisation is driven by carbon pricing assuming public acceptance of both nuclear and Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). (2.3.) High Renewable energy sources (RES). Strong support measures for RES leading to a very high share of RES in gross final energy consumption (75% in 2050) and a share of RES in electricity consumption reaching 97%. (2.4.) Delayed CCS. Similar to Diversified supply technologies scenario but assuming that CCS is delayed, leading to higher shares for nuclear energy with decarbonisation driven by carbon prices rather than technology push. (2.5.) Low nuclear. Similar to Diversified supply technologies scenario but assuming that no new nuclear (besides reactors currently under construction) is being built resulting in a higher penetration of CCS (around 32% in power generation) [overview: 4ff].
Actions/solutions implied: The scenario results all assume that global climate action is taken  -> actions/solutions implied: (1) the EU's energy system needs high levels of investment even in the absence of ambitious decarbonisation efforts, (2) modernizing the energy system will bring high levels of investment into the European economy, (3) decarbonisation can be an advantage for Europe as an early mover in the growing global market for energy-related goods and services, (4) reducing its import dependency and exposure to the volatility of fossil fuel prices and (5) it brings significant air pollution and health co-benefits.
Who benefits from the actions taken?: The Energy Roadmap 2050 shows that decarbonisation is feasible. Transforming the European energy system is imperative for reasons of climate, security and the economy. The clear message is that investments will pay off, in terms of growth, employment, greater energy security and lower fuel costs. The transformation creates a new landscape for European industry and can increase competitiveness .