08 Jul 2008

The Future of European Electricity: Choices before 2020

Gunnar Eskeland / Eberhard Jochem / Henry Neufeldt / Thure Traber / Nathan Rive / Arno Behrens

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For some time now, CEPS has participated in a project funded by the European Commission called ’Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies: Supporting European Climate Policy’ (ADAM). One research stream within the ADAM project focuses on the implications of mitigation and adaptation strategies for the electricity sector. Apart from mitigation of climate change, the electricity sector will also need to adapt to global warming. A warmer world requires less heating and more cooling. It also changes river flows and the frequency of extreme weather events, as well as the ability to generate electricity and to deliver it without disruptions. The ADAM project therefore also explores the links and feedbacks between adaptation and mitigation.
This ADAM-CEPS policy brief elaborates on these issues from a research perspective, but in a policy-relevant way. Section 1 describes the impacts of a warming world on the electricity system with regards to electricity demand and supply, and elaborates on the necessary adaptation strategies. Section 2 analyses policy instruments in support of the necessary transition, and explores biases as regards political feasibility. Section 3 analyses technologies and technological change, both for short-term emission reductions until 2020 and with a longer-term view on a low carbon electricity system in Europe. Finally, section 4 deals with opportunities and challenges of different policies for the European electricity sector in a global context.

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