* Need to invest 99 billion euros
* Savings in fuel, job creation greater
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Oct 24 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 centre
DLR, which also specialises 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 Energy evolution 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 Energy evolution scenario reach a total of
3,010 billion euros up to 2050, or 75 billion per year," the
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.
The energy revolution requires political will and the report
calls on the European Union to agree new targets beyond the 2020
goals to cut carbon by 20 percent, improve energy efficiency by
20 percent and to draw 20 percent of energy from green sources.
"A continuation of the successful triple targets for 2030
will provide industry certainty, mobilise investment in
renewable and energy saving technologies and secure the
necessary climate ambition," the report says.
European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has
repeatedly stated her belief in targets as the way to bring
about change, but member states have been haggling over whether
there should be another set of three goals, as opposed to just a
carbon cutting goal or even no binding targets at all.
The report urges a binding goal of 45 percent renewable
energy by 2030 and also wants to raise the 2020 ambitions to
introduce a binding 30 percent carbon cut rather than the
existing 20 percent cut.
"The expert consensus is that a fundamental shift in the way
we consume and generate energy must begin immediately and be
well under way within the next 10 years in order to avert the
worst impacts of climate change," the report said.
"Each year we emit almost 30 billion tonnes of carbon
equivalent," the report said further. "We are literally filling
up the sky."
($1 = 0.7674 euros)
(Editing by Rex Merrifield)