European utility CEOs aim for carbon-neutral power by 2050

The declaration also commits to an integrated European electricity market and the promotion of energy efficiency technologies. The CEOs represent power companies in 27 countries, jointly producing 2500 TWh electricity per year, equivalent to over 70% of total European power generation.

"The European electricity industry is making a clear commitment to achieving a carbon-neutral sector by mid-century," says Lars Josefsson, Vattenfall CEO and president of utility industry body Eurelectric. "At the same time I and my fellow CEOs have reiterated our belief that a competitive functioning market is the best means to deliver on this goal in a cost-effective manner while also ensuring the basic imperative of supply security."

To achieve the carbon-neutral goal, the CEOs stated that electricity companies will require access to a broad range of power generation options, including efficient clean fossil technologies (such as carbon capture and storage), high-efficient combined heat and power, and nuclear power, alongside new renewable energies. "A crucial factor here is also to simplify licensing procedures for new build," says Josefsson.

According to Eurelectric, the European power sector will require some €1.8 trillion in investment in order to replace ageing plant, develop grids, meet new demand and deliver on environmental targets. "The industry therefore needs a stable, coherent and market-oriented regulatory framework and access to liquid capital markets -policymakers have a crucial role to play here," says Josefsson.

The declaration handed to Piebalgs also demanded that policymakers should work for a worldwide approach to mitigating greenhouse gases, increase support for R&D and CCS-demonstration, recognise the desirability of market-based electricity prices and implement a market-based approach to integrating renewable energy into the system.

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