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No. 166/11 | Berlin, 15.12.2011

Norbert Röttgen: Renewable energies and energy efficiency pay off for Europe as well

Today the EU Commission presented the Energy Roadmap 2050. It describes different technological and economic approaches to achieving Europe's climate targets. Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen explained:

"To achieve its climate targets, Europe must place greater focus on renewable energies and energy efficiency. For me, this is the message at the heart of the EU's Energy Roadmap 2050. The energy scenarios in the Roadmap also show that emphasising renewables and energy efficiency makes sense in economic terms too. Increasing the use of renewables in our energy supply is not at all more expensive than a strategy based primarily on conventional energies. For all the scenarios, the overall costs of the energy system are lower than those for maintaining 'business as usual'. "Renewable energies and energy efficiency are the key to a secure and affordable supply and effective climate protection."

Minister Röttgen noted that the Commission had intentionally refrained from making recommendations for a future energy mix. Nevertheless, the Roadmap was confirmation that "the German government is on the right path with its decision to transform the country's energy system. We want to shape and implement this transformation in a way that generates incentives for innovation and successful economic development. I will be discussing this with representatives of industry and various sectors this week. Transforming the energy system not only helps combat climate change, it also benefits the economy, leading to new technologies, industrial progress and economic growth, and strengthening our international competitiveness. If Germany can achieve this transformation, other countries will be encouraged to follow suit." The minister added that it is in Europe's own interest to combine the expansion of renewable energies with rigorous measures to improve energy efficiency, and to continue resolutely along this road.

Notes on the scenarios

The EU Commission calculated a number of different scenarios. Two models which continue on the current path with no additional measures (reference scenarios), fail to achieve the climate targets. Five other analyses describe paths to a low-emission energy supply (decarbonisation scenarios). These models rely to varying degrees on renewables, energy efficiency, nuclear power and CCS technology. All five models achieve the targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions by around 85 percent. The overall costs of the energy system (fuel, investment, operating costs etc.) are similar in all five analyses, and lower than those of the two reference scenarios. The basis for the price assumptions in these scenarios is not always clear. For instance, rather low costs are assumed for nuclear power and CCS technology, while the technology costs for renewable energies are set too high - in practice these are considerably lower than those in the Commission's scenarios.

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