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Seven European countries agree to decarbonise their power systems by 2035

Picture: Dreamstime.
Picture: Dreamstime.

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, The Netherlands and Switzerland – “the industrial heart of Europe” – say they’ll fully decarbonise their interconnected electricity system by 2035.

The entire European power system is expected to be all but decarbonised by 2040 in line with the rapidly decreasing availability of emission allowances. But the group of seven countries want to reach that milestone five years early to “ensure a smoother transition”, they said in a statement.

“The electricity production of the pentalateral countries count for almost half of the production in the EU,” said Rob Jetten, the Dutch minister of climate and energy. “So it is clear that decarbonising our electricity systems swiftly will significantly decrease carbon emissions in Europe.”

The countries have a strongly interconnected electricity system, and can tap into their collective offshore wind potential, he said. Offshore wind, solar, hydro, and hydrogen would do the heavy lifting in the transition.

Kadri Simson, the EU’s commissioner for energy, said: “A decarbonised electricity system will also increase energy security, and help reduce emissions in transport, industry and buildings through electrification and increased energy efficiency.

“Close collaboration between the members of the Pentalateral Energy Forum will also be crucial to develop energy storage and integrate the rapid expansion of renewables across the region, including through the production of renewable hydrogen.”

The group will jointly plan infrastructure, which will yield cost efficiencies and knowledge sharing, the statement said.

“The future electricity system requires ample flexibility to accommodate for the variety of green energy sources and peak demand and eventually ensure that coal and gas-powered plants are no longer required.”

In 2022, renewables and nuclear accounted for 77.3% of Austria’s electricity mix, 71.9% of Belgium’s, 87.8% of France’s, 49.9% of Germany’s, 85.4% of Luxembourg’s, 43.6% of The Netherlands’, and 97.2% of Switzerlands’, according to data collated by Ember.

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