The goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 is to push the entire world to search for alternative energy sources, as an alternative to fossil fuels. The most obvious are renewable energy derived from the sun, wind, water, etc.
In 2020, several of the world’s largest companies simultaneously announced their complete transition to renewable energy sources (RES).
These include, for example, the Swedish furniture and household goods company IKEA. Apple has become the main owner of solar power plants, and all of the company’s data centers operate using renewable energy sources. The share of renewables in the energy consumed by Google is 35%.
Is it close to reality?
A report by SolarPower Europe and LUT University in Finland shows that Europe could achieve climate neutrality before 2050 – but only if it switches completely to renewables.
Despite the fact that for five consecutive years, the volume of green energy generation has exceeded coal, gas and nuclear power, and global investments in renewable energy annually exceed $ 300 billion, it is too early to talk about the imminent abandonment of fossil fuels.
Countries have not yet decided how to compensate for those periods when energy production is not possible: a lack of wind or sunlight. Now RES is often locked at the expense of redundant capabilities, which are simply inactive. Idle capacity instantly increases electricity prices.
Otherwise, for the safety net, it is necessary to build additional storage facilities for batteries, in which it will be possible to store electricity for several months or even years. There is no doubt that these are additional global investments, and some countries are simply not ready for them.
On the plus side, renewables have enabled Europe to reduce its use of the most toxic fossil fuels. For example, coal. But gas, despite the path chosen for decarbonization, has not been sought after in the European Union.
“For Europe, the issue is acute: decarbonization must be reasonable. And in the coming decades, there will be no place only for gas: the market share of gas can expand, because the demand for electricity is increasing, and its own production decreases. Accordingly , the need for imports will increase, ”- Vyacheslav Colagin, director of the Center for the Study of Global Energy Markets at the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted earlier in an interview with Baltinews.
Thus, the European Commission’s Green Agenda announced in 2020 does not rule out the role of gas in achieving climate neutrality. At least the first time. This means that even in this context, the Nord Stream 2 project will not lose its relevance for many years to come.
“First, it is clear that decarbonization will primarily lead to a reduction in the use of coal. As long as coal occupies a fairly large share in the balance of European countries, this will serve as a ‘trump card’ for demonstrating decarbonization. Germany, for example, has plans To turn off nuclear power plants. But this is a big problem, because, as we know, nuclear power plants are zero-emissions plants. That is, if they leave them, they are likely to “charred” their economy, Collagen concluded, “moving in the opposite direction, which is why the announcement Extensive plans to phase out coal. And as part of this, gas will be a kind of salvation, including Russian gas.”