The energy and environmental objectives for 2030 are very demanding. To overcome the challenges they pose, there must be an active response from all the actors involved (governments, institutions, companies, consumers).
The main economies in Europe have been immersed in this process known as "energy transition" for years. The Basque Country has also been working for years on strategies and plans for 2030 and 2050 and implementing specific measures in many areas, aimed at addressing energy and environmental challenges.
In 2021-2030, significant progress must be made in reducing emissions in sectors such as transport or industry (and further reduce emissions in other sectors such as power generation, building industry, etc.).
We will be experiencing deep transformations that will focus on a greater electrification of end uses, the penetration of electric vehicles, heat pumps, etc., and improvements in energy efficiency.
All these changes will lead to multiple economic, environmental and social opportunities over the next two decades, and especially in the next 10 years.
On 14 November, we held a conference on energy transitions in Europe together with the Basque Energy Agency in order to learn from other countries and gain further insight into their situation and their strategies on the path to decarbonisation.
Below is a summary of the lessons we can draw from the cases of Germany, France, United Kingdom and Norway.
- There is not a single energy transition model and it must be adapted to the current situation of each economy. It is important to have adequate strategies and plans that simultaneously facilitate the necessary transformations and protect the sectors where wealth is created.
- The cases reviewed show that in all these countries there are ambitious strategies and plans that are implemented with specific and well-defined action lines and measures across all areas of the economy.
- The importance of mitigation measures (of GHG emissions), but also of adaptation measures to climate risks must be stressed.
- It is essential to align the energy transition strategy with industrial and sector policies, circular economy, innovation, etc. to promote the development of competitive advantages in the areas of strength of each economy through specialisation, development of new products, services and business models, the exploitation of synergies between sectors, value chains and different technologies, etc.
- All the examples analysed reveal the importance of proper governance of the process (e.g., the establishment of expert committees on climate change, continuous monitoring of the process and periodic accountability).
- The challenge of social acceptance is common to all energy transition processes. Transparency in the process and the flexibility of strategies, plans and measures are key to maintaining the support of citizens’ businesses.
- It is necessary to use a wide range of tax and environmental measures and tools that are not easily implemented: Carbon budgets; Carbon price; Tax incentives (subsidies, tax deductions, etc.).
- Compensation measures for vulnerable citizen segments and income recycling derived from environmental taxation are particularly relevant.
- A strong commitment to a change in the mobility model that will feature electric vehicles, but also other energy sources is required.
- A strong commitment to new technologies is required: hydrogen, offshore wind, carbon capture and use, “green gas”, etc.
- All this requires large investments, so it is necessary to think about new financing schemes, based on public-private collaboration models, and the need to involve the financial sector.
- Greater prominence should be given to regions and cities to implement changes in local environments effectively.
Energy Transition Models in Europe
If you are interested in gaining further insight into what was discussed during the session on Energy Transitions in Europe, or you want to know more about our work, please clic HERE.
Senior researcher and coordinator for the field of energy at Orkestra since March 2018. PhD in Economics, Georgetown University (Washington DC), Jorge has broad experience in the energy sector.