28 March 2023
New Europe-wide campaign shows path to renewables-based power system by 2035
BERLIN, 28 MARCH 2023 – Today, more than forty civil society organisations from across Europe are embarking on a mission to ensure governments, businesses, and financial institutions eliminate fossil fuels from the continent’s power sector by 2035, replacing them with renewable energy sources and energy savings. The Beyond Fossil Fuels (BFF) campaign expands the hugely successful Europe Beyond Coal coalition, which has seen 23 European countries committing to coal exits, 17 of which will happen by 2030 at the latest.
The coalition is kick-starting the BFF campaign with research which shows that Europe can replace the amount of coal and fossil gas it historically imported from Russia in just four years, by making determined but achievable increases in the deployment of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency measures and smart consumption. Freedom From Fossil Fuels finds that 70 percent of these fuels can be displaced through the rollout of solar, wind and heat pumps alone. This would entail, as a daily average, the solarisation of 20,000 homes and 30 parking lots; building seven solar farms and 14 wind turbines; and installing 19,500 heat pumps across the continent, enabling European countries to permanently replace all Russian coal and fossil gas, without resorting to imports from other countries or increasing domestic production.
“Coal in Europe is in irreversible, terminal decline, and even its supposed winter comeback as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was all thunder and no lightning. The panicked responses to the energy crisis remain proof that Europe is struggling as a consequence of its deep dependence on fossil gas and other dirty fuels. Transforming our businesses, cities, towns, and homes to efficiently run on cheap, clean, home-grown renewable energy is the only fair and plausible way to tackle the cost of living, peace, security, and climate change simultaneously. Every politician, business, financier and utility has a responsibility to make this vision a reality by 2035,” said Kathrin Gutmann, campaign director at Beyond Fossil Fuels.
European governments have allocated an estimated EUR 768 billion since September 2021 to shield households and businesses from surging energy costs , yet an estimated 35 million EU households were still unable to heat their homes last winter.  Investing a comparable amount in solar, wind, and heat pumps would displace over two-thirds of the fossil fuels responsible for driving up energy costs, and replace them with around 29 million solar homes,44,000 solar car parks, 9,500 solar farms, 20,500 onshore and offshore wind turbines, and 28.5 million heat pumps.
“Right now Europe has a golden opportunity to demonstrate it is capable of remaking a power system fit for its people and economy, and doing it while protecting our environment and climate. By focusing on a suite of renewable and energy savings solutions, in just a few years Europe can replace every joule of Russian fossil fuel it was relying on before the war. This will drive dramatic reductions to power bills, promote peace and energy security, and get us on track for necessary climate action and a completely fossil-free, renewable-based power system by 2035,” said Cyrille Cormier, campaign strategist, and author of the BFF Freedom From Fossil Fuels analysis.
Alastair Clewer, Senior Communications Manager, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected]al.eu, +49 176 433 07 185
- Freedom From Fossil Fuels: Eliminating Russian fossil fuels and securing Europe’s future with renewables and energy savings – https://beyondfossilfuels.org/2023/03/27/freedom-from-fossil-fuels/
To achieve everything outlined in this meta analysis, which looks at how to rapidly bring down coal and gas demand for energy across Europe by 2025, European countries would need to deploy 481.2 GW of new solar (459 GW in the EU-27), 102 GW of new wind (78 GW in the EU-27) and 28.5 million heat pumps (24 million in the EU-27) by the end of 2025, as well as several other measures related to efficiency in buildings and industry as well as smart consumption. To give a sense of scale and how doable this is all is, this for example can be translated to the following solutions over the course of four years (2022-25):
- 29 million solar homes or 20,000 solar homes per day over the course of four years (=60% of the solar total)
- 44,000 solarised car parking lots or 30 solar parking lots per day (=20% of the solar total) (=20% of the solar total)
- 9,500 small solar farms or seven solar farms per day (=20% of the solar total)
- 20,500 wind turbines (both on and offshore) or 14 wind turbines per day
- 28.5 million single family home heat pumps or 19,500 heat pumps per day
- 22.6 million insulated homes and offices or 15,000 renovated dwellings per day
- The fiscal side of Europe’s energy crisis: the facts, problems and prospects https://www.bruegel.org/blog-post/fiscal-side-europes-energy-crisis-facts-problems-and-prospects
- How EU funded projects help citizens escape the energy poverty trap https://cinea.ec.europa.eu/news-events/news/how-eu-funded-projects-help-citizens-escape-energy-poverty-trap-2023-01-18_en
- 87 percent of Europeans want massive investments in renewable energies, such as wind and solar power: https://europa.eu/eurobarometer/surveys/detail/2693
- In 2021, Beyond Fossil Fuels’ Campaign Director, Kathrin Gutmann, was one of only three people globally to be selected to receive the US$3 million 2021 Climate Breakthrough Award for her achievements with the European Beyond Coal campaign. This prize is being used to kick start this new Beyond Fossil Fuels campaign: https://beyond-coal.eu/2021/12/07/europe-beyond-coal-campaign-director-kathrin-gutmann-receives-climate-breakthrough-award/
- The Beyond Fossil Fuels campaign is made up of over 47 organisations across Europe (covering EU-27, Ukraine, Turkey, Western Balkans, Moldova, Switzerland, Norway and the UK), including: Aarhus center (Bosnia and Herzegovina), AirClim (Sweden/Nordic), Amis de la Terre / Friends of the Earth France (France), BankTrack, BoMiasto (Poland), Belgrade Open School (Serbia), / Centre for Transport and Energy CDE (Czechia), Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Coal Action Network (UK), CEE Bankwatch Network, Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development CEKOR (Serbia), Center for Environmental Initiatives Ecoaction (Ukraine), ClientEarth, Center for Environment CZZS (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Environmental Action Germany DUH (Germany), E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism, Eco-svest (North Macedonia), Eco-Team (Montenegro), Ekotim (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ekosfer (Turkey), Ember, Estonian Green Movement / Friends of the Earth Estonia (Estonia), European Environmental Bureau EEB, Future in Our Hands (Norway), Frank Bold (Czech Republic), Maan ystävät / Friends of the Earth Finland (Finland), The Foundation “Development YES – Open-Pit Mines NO” (Poland), Green Home (Montenegro), Green Thought Association (Turkey), Greenpeace, Health And Environment Alliance (HEAL), Hnutí DUHA / Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Czech Republic), International Institute for Law and the Environment IIDMA (Spain), Nature and Environment (Netherlands), MTVSZ-NSC / Friends of the Earth Hungary (Hungary), Priatelia Zeme-CEPA / Friends of the Earth (Slovakia), Re:Common (Italy), Reclaim Finance, Re-set (Czech Republic), The Climate Reality Project (Europe), The Green Tank (Greece), Urgewald (Germany), WeMove, WWF, YUVA (Turkey), Za Zemiata / Friends of the Earth Bulgaria (Bulgaria), Zero (Portugal). www.beyondfossilfuels.org
Beyond Fossil Fuels is a collective civil society campaign committed to ensuring all of Europe’s electricity is generated from fossil-free, renewable energy by 2035. It expands and builds upon the Europe Beyond Coal campaign, and its goal of a coal-free Europe in power and heat by 2030 at the latest. www.beyondfossilfuels.org