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Speed of technological transformations required in Europe to achieve different climate goals

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  • Marta Victoria
  • Elisabeth Zeyen, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Technical University of Berlin
  • ,
  • Tom Brown, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Technical University of Berlin

Europe's contribution to global warming will be determined by the cumulative emissions until climate neutrality is achieved. Here, we investigate alternative transition paths under different carbon budgets. We use PyPSA-Eur-Sec, an open model of the sector-coupled European energy system with high spatial and temporal resolution. All the paths entail similar technological transformations, but the timing of the scale-up of important technologies like electrolysis, carbon capture, and hydrogen network differs. Solar PV and onshore and offshore wind become the cornerstone of a net-zero energy system, enabling the decarbonization of other sectors via direct electrification (heat pumps and electric vehicles) or indirect electrification (using synthetic fuels). For a social cost of carbon (SCC) of 120€/tCO2, transition paths under 1.5 and 1.6°C budgets are, respectively, 8% and 1% more expensive than the 2°C budget because building assets earlier costs more. The 1.5°C budget is cost optimal if a SCC of at least 300€/tCO2 is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1066-1086
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

    Research areas

  • carbon budget, carbon price, CO sequestration, discount rate, energy system modeling, energy transition, European energy system, renewable energy integration, social cost of carbon

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