It's not just top European scientists who believe a 100% renewable future is possible. Paul Hockenos of Renewable Energy World posts on a new report from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which claims that Europe could be 100% renewable by 2050.
Possible should not be confused with easy, however. Among the report's findings, writes Hockenos, is an observation that Europe is in desperate need of a more coherent, consistent approach to energy policy. Much like the need for greater fiscal unity to avert a Eurozone meltdown, the complex mix of targets, subsidies and priorities represented by each member nation represents a major obstacle to progress:
Since grid construction needs as long as ten years to be realized, potential grid investors would need an unshakable commitment to renewable energies to invest in such a costly project. The report underscores a number of measures to get the ball on an all-European system rolling, including a "review" of the EU treaty that stipulates that the national states have full authority to determine their own energy supplies as they wish. Ultimately there must be a guarantee that nationally minded states don't obstruct plans for an European grid system.
As for Europe's current energy markets, they too tend to reflect national priorities and a fossil fuel-dominated system that the EU is supposedly committed to phasing out. The report argues that "open and hidden" subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear must be abolished in order to even the playing field between renewable and conventional energies.
From dire warnings about the impact of climate change on Europe to CEO's demanding transparency on fossil fuel subsidies, it's interesting to see how a clear set of priorities and parameters is beginning to emerge from the public debate.
Now we just need leaders willing to step up and get things done.