The report titled “European Power Sovereignty Through Renewables by 2030” was commissioned by the Aquila Group – a player in both wind and solar. The research was coordinated by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. That combination makes the report’s findings somewhat suspect.
The findings require one to suspend reality.
But for yucks, let’s assume the findings are free of biased. The report concluded that with a $2 trillion investment, by 2040, Europe could achieve energy independence.
Now $2 trillion sounds like a lot, but over 17 years it’s about $117 billion annually. That’s a doable number. Except that the money is allocated almost entirely to wind and solar. A token amount was earmarked for other sources – no doubt included to create an appearance of objectivity.
What the report made little mention of – and evidently allocated no funds towards – was grid infrastructure upgrades. That alone could easily double the required funding.
The 11-page report is filled with pretty bar graphs. Of the seven pages with substantive information, one was devoted to recommendations.
The thing is – the recommendations make spending $2 trillion moot. Spend it, don’t spend it. It won’t matter. You’re still unlikely to achieve energy independence by 2040. And the specific list of recommendations is why.
Here’s a sample:
- Policy makers should drive a massive expansion of renewable electric generation amounting to 20% growth per year through 2040.
Now 20% growth is possible in the short term, but the law of big numbers kicks in making 20% growth in the back-end of the timeframe extremely difficult.
- Streamline network development plans by European Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and create initiatives for grid expansion.
But where in the study is the money to accomplish this?
- Europe has to build up its domestic production for wind and solar.
One problem with that: the same week this study hit the press an article stating that European domestic production of solar and wind components isn’t competitive. Again, how much money would it take to put Europe on par with China and the U.S.?
- Other issues included workforce training, the need to adopt new technologies, behavioral changes, and on and on.
You get the idea.
This document is a classic example of a company with a vested interest commissioning a study whose findings were likely pre-determined. And by that I mean – publish a study that says Europe can achieve energy independence by spending “X”. But only include direct expenditures for renewables.
The cleantech industry is filled with this type of information. All headline grabbing and all generally worthless and counterproductive.