During the last years, the growth of renewables in Europe has scaled up tremendously in response to cost and energy security concerns.

However, to truly address the multiple crises effectively, we must act decisively. This involves cutting our bills permanently, taking back control of our energy supplies, and addressing the climate emergency. For that, we need to replace all Russian fossil fuels in our power sector in the coming years. Moreover, our power needs to be fossil-free and completely based on renewable energy sources by 2035.

Our Freedom From Fossil Fuels meta analysis shows that accelerating solar, wind, and heat pump installation alone would replace nearly two-thirds of Europe’s pre-war fossil gas and coal imports from Russia. This translates to European countries collectively building 14 wind turbines on land and at sea and seven solar farms; solarising 20,000 homes and 30 parking lots; and installing 19,500 heat pumps every day. To put this into perspective: In 2022, an estimated 20,000 solar roof systems and 19,500 heat pumps were installed on and in homes across countries in the European Union, each day.

The following charts lay out the challenge and pathway necessary to make the energy transition in Europe a success:

The graphs show the ambition gap under various scenarios to reach a fully RES-based power system in the EU by 2035. We picked four different scenarios to demonstrate the range of various levels of ambition. For historical values we relied on Ember’s annual electricity review. The four scenarios presented all have different end-dates, ranging from 2025 to 2050. Therefore the REPowerEU pledges as well as the Freedom From Fossil Fuels (FFFF) meta analysis are ending before 2035. However, both cases are illuminating a different trajectory that lets us make assumptions as to how far the EU has come along towards a full RES-based power system by 2035 by their respective end-dates. The main takeaway is that the EU needs to up its REPower commitments, because the currently planned trajectory falls way short of the ambition that needs to be had. For example, DG ENER modelling for 2030 assumes an overall generation of 1,932 TWh of wind and solar power - which represents 56% of the total electricity generation, but is below Climacts PAC scenario of 2,081 TWh or Ember’s New Generation System Change pathway of 2,424 TWh.
  1. REPowerEU: “is the is the European Commission’s plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030”. The Commission takes to mean by around 2027 shall the EU be free from Russian fossil fuel imports. To achieve this the plan calls for a RES-share of 69% in electricity generation by 2030 of which wind and solar make up 37% and 19% respectively, or 1,276 TWh in generation from wind and 655 TWh in generation from solar. The capacities needed to achieve this by 2030 are 510 GW for wind and 592 GW for solar.
  2. Freedom From Fossil Fuels: BFF’s own meta study as to how to remove an equivalent amount of Russian fossil fuels from the power sector envisions an faster accelera tion of RES deployment with 266.8 GW in installed capacity of wind power and 626 GW of solar power, which would yield 674 TWh and 642 TWh of generation respectively in 2025.
  3. Ember New Generation: Shown here are the results from the System Change pathway of Ember’s New Generation study, i.e. the most ambitious pathway from the study. Ember’s modelling runs 2050, which allows an evaluation of what an almost fully RES-based power system would look like – relying heavily on wind and solar for almost 80% of power generation in 2035, or generation of 2,122 TWh of wind and 1,560 TWh of solar power and an installed capacity of 679 GW and 1,350 GW.
  4. PAC Scenario 2.0: The Paris Agreement Compatible (PAC) pathways explorer developed by CLIMACT for CAN Europe is intended to demonstrate a pathway for a Net-Zero by 2040 with a 100% RES-based power system, which can also be used to challenge the EU member states NECPs. By 2035 it has a generation of 1,776 TWh of wind and 1,163 TWh of solar.