Electrification should be the main driver of the energy transition, accelerating decarbonisation in other sectors of the economy. So believes the Polish Electricity Association (PKEE), which cited a study by Eurelectric, according to which in 2050 electricity will play a leading role in transport, as it will constitute up to 63 per cent of the total final energy consumption in the transport sector and up to 50 per cent of industrial processes will be directly electrified.
The competitiveness of electricity against other carbon-neutral fuels will be the crucial cause of this shift. In fact, electrification may reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in three ways: by enabling the phasing out of more polluting fuels, by increasing the overall system energy efficiency and by unlocking innovative, zero-emission technologies such as Power-to-X or smart grid solutions, which can further contribute to the climate objectives.
The PKEE believes that in order to bring the benefits of clean energy to EU citizens and businesses in a cost-effective manner, electricity needs to be put at the heart of the transition.
Electricity can be used in multiple sectors. In the heating sector, for example, individual electric heating installations can cover a significant part of the demand for heat in urban areas, without access to the district heating network. Electricity can also power the transport sector, bringing to zero its carbon footprint and increasing its efficiency. Moreover, smart charging, through vehicle-to-grid technology, can also contribute to the systems’ stability by increasing the security of supply. Low-temperature industrial processes can also be decarbonised through direct electrification. Other applications include technologies such as waste-to-energy.
Against this background, the PKEE calls for a smart strategy of sector integration, which fully recognises the potential of the electricity in the decarbonisation of multiple sectors of the European economy. The PKEE believes that the sector coupling strategy needs to reaffirm the EU approach towards electricity as an important driver of decarbonisation, which will, in consequence, provide the energy sector with a clear signal to further develop electricity-based solutions that contribute to sector integration.