The study, carried by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in collaboration with researchers of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the European Climate Forum (ECF) has formulated the first policy roadmap towards a 2050 goal of achieving a 100% renewable power sector in Europe and North Africa.

A transformation of the power sector based on 100% renewables would address energy security and supply concerns while decarbonising electricity generation and at the same time contribute to a substantial reduction in energy poverty.

“Currently, over 50% of the energy production capacities in Romania are coal, or other fossil fuels based. Many of the thermal plants in our country are obsolete from a technical point of view, do not comply with EU environmental regulations and are coming close to the end of their life cycle. Their replacement or their rehabilitation would need major investments and a long period to realize the expected return on investment”, said Alexandru Lupea (photo), Partner, Assurance, the leader of the Energy, Utilities and Mining Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania.

Taking into account existing infrastructure and electricity generation capacities, and recognising the need for a cross-national power system, the proposed SuperSmart Grid would allow load and demand management for power, independent of when and where the power is generated.

The researchers studied the policy, markets, investments and infrastructure leadership needed to achieve the 100% renewables goal in terms of financial, infrastructure and government policy milestones for policy makers and business.

“Any investments in new production capacities based on conventional fossil fuels would face uncertainties in respect of the legal framework for carbon emissions primarily through the cost per ton of carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, it is likely that investments in renewable energy will become highly attractive for the large players in the field, despite the higher cost of the installed Mw/h. That is because the current EU legislative framework encourages the production of “green” electricity, through subsidies and attractive feeder tariffs, and future changes in relevant legislation can only bring good news for the renewable energy sector”, Alexandru Lupea added.

The study focused the examination on a 100% renewable electricity supply to consider the market and infrastructure potential of natural resources, but recognised that in addition to renewables, there are other routes to achieving a low carbon future. Amongst the most significant, the expansion of nuclear power and the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) for the burning of fossil fuels.