Floating windfarm

EU must double power generation to be climate neutral by 2050

Consumer demands making sustainability targets harder to achieve
Image: DOCK90

25 January 2024

The European Union has set the goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050 but an unpublished study seen by news service Bloomberg says actual power generation will have to more than double to meet the growing demand.

Consumers will increasingly use electricity for cooking, heating their homes or moving around in electric vehicles. According to a study, the EU should produce 6,922 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy by 2050. In 2021, the entire EU produced 2,905 TWh of electricity. The study suggests that this should already become 5,212 TWh by 2040, to be more than doubled by 2050.

To meet electricity generation targets, the EU will need to invest €1.5 trillion in renewable energy solutions such as wind turbines, solar panels, battery storage, and the raw materials to keep them running.

For example, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90-95%, 500,000 tons of copper will be needed annually until 2040 – 125,000 tons of that would then be used to build wind turbines.

For the production of batteries to store electricity, lithium and cobalt are important raw materials. One would need 80,000 tons of lithium and 60,000 tons of cobalt per year.

Not insignificantly, world demand for lithium in 2022 was 130,000 tons, and for cobalt 200,000 tons. Thus, the mining of both metals worldwide should be greatly increased.

Setting goals is one thing, matching resources to meet them is another altogether.

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