Greening the power sector: benefits of an ambitious implementation of Europe's environment and climate policies

Europe's electricity generation still relies largely on fossil fuels as an energy source and thus contributes to emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), dust and nitrogen oxides (NOx), among other pollutants. A new EEA assessment shows that with an ambitious implementation of new requirements under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive, Member States can significantly reduce pollutant emissions and thus minimise their potential harmful effects on the environment and human health. There is also a close link between future reductions in pollutant emissions and EU climate and energy policy, which drives growth in renewables and the switch towards cleaner fuels in the remaining power plants. A more fundamental restructuring of the power sector is, however, needed to meet the EU's long-term decarbonisation targets.

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Trends and projections in Europe 2018 - Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targets

This report is part of the ‘Trends and Projections in Europe: 2018: Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets,’ package. It is based on the most recent reported and approximated data from EU Member States on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy uptake and energy consumption.

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Progress of EU transport sector towards its environment and climate objectives

Emissions from the EU transport sector are not reducing enough to limit its environmental and climate impacts in Europe. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport have increased over the last three years, whilst average CO2 emissions of new passenger cars increased for the first time in 2017. The sector remains a significant source of air pollution, especially of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide, although these emissions have been reduced in the last decade. It also is the main source of environmental noise in Europe.

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Using Member States information on policies and measures to support policymaking: energy efficiency in buildings

In line with EU legislation, Member States report information on their policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This information is used to monitor climate action at a national level. It is also important for supporting policy evaluation and informing policy decisions. This briefing presents the results of two case studies analysing policies and measures targeting energy efficiency in buildings.

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Environmental pressures of heavy metal releases from Europe's industry

The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) ensures public access to information on pollutant releases to the environment from Europe’s largest facilities. Updated E-PRTR data have recently been published by the EEA, including information on pollutant releases to the environment from some 33 000 facilities in Europe for the period 2007-2016. This briefing, based on updated E-PRTR data for 2016, presents information on heavy metal releases to air and water. It applies an eco-toxicity approach (USEtox model) to illustrate spatially the combined environmental pressures on Europe’s environment caused by releases of the selected pollutants.

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Fuel quality in the EU in 2016

Fuel quality monitoring under the Fuel Quality Directive.

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Renewable energy in Europe 2017 — Recent growth and knock-on effects

This report provides an overview of progress in renewable energy in Europe, based on official statistics until 2015 and preliminary estimates for 2016.

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Signals 2017 - Shaping the future of energy in Europe: Clean, smart and renewable

The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes Signals annually, providing a snapshot of issues of interest to the environmental debate and the wider public. Signals 2017 focuses on energy.

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Renewable energy in Europe 2017: recent growth and knock-on effects

Addressing climate change requires a globally coordinated, long-term response across all economic sectors. The 2015 Paris Agreement provides the framework for limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and for pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Early in this process, the European Union has adopted ambitious and binding climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030. Member States have set the strategic objective of building an Energy Union, which aims to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy (European Council, 2014) and which has a forward‑looking climate policy at its core (European Council, 2015). The most recent package of legislative measures, adopted by the European Commission in November 2016, aims to consolidate and match national climate and energy efforts, and facilitate the delivery of the 2030 targets for climate, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources (RES). This report provides information about progress in RES in 2014 at the EU, country, energy market sector and RES technology levels.

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Sustainability transitions: Now for the long term

This report was developed in cooperation with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) — a partnership network of the EEA and its member and cooperating countries involving more than 1 000 experts and 350 national institutions across Europe. Drawing on evidence collected from across the network, the report represents an initial attempt to explore what the concepts of sustainability transitions and transformations mean in practice, and how the EEA and Eionet can help develop the knowledge needed to support systemic change in Europe. Case studies are used to explain and illustrate key concepts and to give a sense of what activities are already under way at local levels. The report concludes with reflections from the EEA's Scientific Committee and Executive Director, which provide further insights into the new knowledge needs and the potential role of the EEA and Eionet in responding to them.

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Trends and projections in Europe 2016 - Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targets

The 2016 edition of the annual EEA report, Trends and projections in Europe, provides an updated assessment of the progress of the EU and European countries towards their climate mitigation and energy targets.

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Trends and projections in the EU ETS in 2016 — The EU Emissions Trading System in numbers

The report provides an analysis of past, present and future emissions trends under the EU ETS, based on the latest data and information available from the European Commission and Member States. It also analyses the balance between supply and demand of allowances in the market. The report's annexes provide extensive material describing the functioning, scope and cap of the EU ETS.

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Transforming the EU power sector: avoiding a carbon lock-in

With fossil fuels still contributing to roughly half of the electricity generated in Europe, moving away from a carbon-intensive power supply over the next few decades will require a commitment to increase investment in clean technology, restructure the fossil fuel energy infrastructure and ensure a secure and affordable power supply. In this context, this report fills an important information gap by looking at: • the theoretical evolution of fossil fuel capacity by 2030 in the absence of strong drivers to counter present trends; • how this hypothetical evolution would fit in with the need to create a qualitatively different EU power sector by 2030 and beyond, in line with EU climate goals.

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Electric vehicles in Europe

This report provides a non-technical summary of the latest information on electric road vehicles in Europe, including those with hybrid technologies. It focuses upon electric passenger vehicles, explaining the different types that are now available on the market, how each type works, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

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Electric vehicles and the energy sector - impacts on Europe's future emissions

A fundamental change within the road transport sector is required if Europe wants to achieve its objective of a long-term transition to a low-carbon European economy. Electric vehicles charged with electricity from renewable sources can reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants from road transport. This briefing (based on an assessment carried out on behalf of the EEA) presents the key implications for emissions and Europe's energy system arising from the potential wide-scale use of electric cars in 2050.

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Renewable energy in Europe 2016 - Recent growth and knock-on effects

This report complements the findings shown in the "Trends and Projections in Europe 2015 - Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targets" report with details about the 2013 renewable energy sources (RES) progress at EU and at country level, and for key RES technologies. Furthermore, it provides approximated estimates for RES development in 2014 and seeks to answer the following key questions: Which fossil energy sources were substituted by the growth of RES consumption since 2005 and what would have been their GHG emissions? How do European RES developments compare against renewable energy transformations occurring in other parts of the world?

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Renewable energy in Europe - Approximated recent growth and knock-on effects

The 2015 report introduces several methods the European Environment Agency (EEA) has developed for assessing and communicating early RES growth and the important knock-on effects that RES growth has on the energy sector and related areas. The report provides specific information at EU and country level on estimated RES progress in 2013, estimated gross avoided carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and avoided fossil fuel use due to the additional use of renewable energy since 2005, as well as an assessment of the statistical impacts of growing RES use on primary energy consumption.

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Energy support measures and their impact on innovation in the renewable energy sector in Europe

Governments support energy production and consumption in order to meet social, economic and environmental objectives, and they have been doing so for decades. In times of economic crisis, public budgets and household incomes come under pressure. At the same time, countries need to kick‑start their economies by creating new employment opportunities in emerging industries such as the renewable sector. This report examines the support allocated to energy production and consumption in Europe and its impact on innovation in renewable energy.

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