On 4 February, EuropeOn General Secretary Julie Beaufils, along with other General Secretaries of the Electrification Alliance, met virtually with Executive vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans, in charge of the European Green Deal.
Mr. Timmermans and the Electrification alliance discussed the need to accelerate electrification, as EU policymakers are working on new legislations and strategies to deliver the Green Deal, as announced in late 2019, and to promote a Green Recovery in Europe. The Commission is currently drafting the so-called “Fit for 55 package”, a series of legislations which must enable the EU to update its 2030 emissions reduction target of net 55 % compared to 1990 levels (from the current 40 % emissions reduction target).
To make it happen, the EU has launched a review of all its core climate and energy legislation, including the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Renewable Energy Directive (the Electrification Strategy circulated a position paper to EU officials a few months ago), as well as the Energy Performance of building Directive, the Emissions Trading System Directive, etc. Recent strategies and initiatives, such as the Renovation Wave, the Strategy for Smart Sector Integration and the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, go in the same direction.
Besides, the Commission established a target of spending 37% of the €750 billion NextGenerationEU Recovery Fund on Green Deal objectives.
With over 1.8 million electrical contractors handling an increasingly clean and smart electricity around Europe, EuropeOn highlighted to Mr. Timmermans the job engine that electrification can be for Europe’s recovery. Cambridge Econometrics estimates that around 1.8 million more net jobs can be created across Europe by 2050 with an ambitious scenario based on smart electrification and deep efficiency is chosen. From a sectoral point of view, several studies, including from the Platform for E-mobility, show that e-mobility could lead to the creation of over 1 millionjobs by 2030. Solar, coined as the “new king of power” by the International Energy Agency, also has the potential have a massive spill-over effect on jobs, with up to 4 million new jobs by 2050 (SolarPower Europe). Finally, just looking at the segment of electrical contractors, EuropeOn foresees that around 270 000 jobs can be created in the next 10 years from doubling energy renovation rates.
Those are not the only social benefits unlocked by electrification. With electricity comes a powerful tool to fight air pollution and reduce the appalling number of 400.000 premature deaths caused by air pollution annually in Europe (European Environmental Agency). It’s also a matter of citizens’ purchasing power: activating demand-side flexibility through smart electrification would save 5.6 billion euros every year from unnecessary investments in back-up generation, grid reinforcements and fuel costs (and that’s the Commission which says so).
The Electrification Alliance is committed to support reductions in carbon emissions and the scale up of investment in non-emitting technologies like renewables, energy storage and smart grids, while promoting sectoral integration with the heating, cooling and transport sectors. The Alliance calls on European policymakers to recognise that decarbonised electricity is a key vehicle for a sustainable European economy, and therefore calls on removing barriers to electrification in all end-use sectors.
The Alliance continues to grow and has just welcomed its tenth member, RGI-Renewables Grid Initiative, a Berlin-based platform for dialogue between transmission system operators (TSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).