IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - 43

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When european union (eu) leaders committed, in october 2009, to reducing
greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions by at least
80%, they essentially set up a long-term
vision of the european economy's moving
toward a low-carbon society and a zerocarbon power sector by 2050 (see Figure 1).
it remained unclear, however, whether that
was at all possible from a technical and
economic point of view, and if so, how the
transition could be managed in a secure and
cost-effective way.
as the climate talks held at the 15th Conference of the parties (Cop 15) to the united
nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change in Copenhagen in december 2009
did not deliver a global strategy on emission reductions, trust in top-down, globally
coordinated action faded, and the need for
concrete and economically sound bottom-up
solutions took center stage. The onus lay with
the eu to turn its 2050 climate commitments
into a workable energy policy.
The eu has three stated objectives for
its energy policy, called the "three pillars":
security of supply (covering self-reliance,
technology risks, and related matters); economic impact (issues of competitiveness,
energy costs, and so on); and sustainability
(covering environmental impacts, resource
depletion, decarbonization, and other areas
having to do with sustainability).
With climate change challenges increasing in profile and urgency, the decarbonization objective dominated the interpretation
of the sustainability pillar and became the
primary focus for eu energy policy in general. The question of how to integrate the
decarbonization objective with the security of supply and competitiveness objectives remained unanswered, however.
This question was all the more challenging in a union of european member
states with very divergent national energy
priorities. Several key countries still rely
heavily on coal-fired power plants, such as
Germany (44%) and poland (89%), while
others have already made considerable
investments in renewable energy sources
(denmark in wind, Germany and Spain
in wind and solar). Some countries have
ambitious plans to invest in new nuclear

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MPE.2014.2331894
Date of publication: 18 August 2014

september/october 2014

plants (the Czech republic, poland, and the
united Kingdom), while public pressure
to phase out nuclear power dominates the
debates in austria, Belgium, and Germany.
at the same time, several Central and eastern european countries are primarily concerned about dependency on russian gas
imports and the effect of energy policies on
household prices.
So despite the pillars of eu energy policy, the policy priorities of its member states
diverge substantially, and there has been a
lack of common understanding or even a
reference point for how the decarbonization
challenge could be integrated and balanced
with national energy objectives.
Within this context, it was critical to
establish a new, fact-based reference point
to serve as a comprehensive and credible
guide toward achieving the 2050 climate
goals. european policy makers needed to
understand and trust that different pathways
to full decarbonization of the electricity
sector 1) did not impose a threat to the reliability of power provision, 2) were manageable in terms of costs and investments, and
3) had multiple cobeneficial effects on the
economy and society as a whole.
This was the challenge on which the
european Climate Foundation (eCF)
embarked in 2009 and that led to its
Roadmap 2050 project. The project produced three reports in less than four years
(see Figure 2). Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon
Europe (april 2010) looked at whether
decarbonization is a viable option by 2050
from a macroeconomic point of view.
Power Perspectives 2030: On the Road to
a Decarbonized Power Sector (november
2011) analyzed the investment and system challenges for the power sector in the
next decade, 2020-2030. Finally, From
Roadmaps to Reality: A Framework for
Power Sector Decarbonization in Europe
(december 2013) recommended changes
to the eu's energy policy and governance
structures that could help steer energy
markets in the right direction.
eCF's Roadmap 2050 project evolved
from a bold experiment in late 2009 to a
well-known and oft-referenced series of
reports today. They have more than once
been called the most effective remedy for
the "Copenhagen hangover."
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover3
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