Extensive electrification would entail an unacceptable risk to European energy security.
Electrification and renewable energy production strengthen energy security by helping to reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports such as oil, gas and coal.
Production of coal, lignite and gas has fallen over time in the EU, increasing the need to import energy resources to meet demand. As a result, the EU has depended on imports to cover more than half of its energy needs since 2004. The scale of the EU’s dependence on imports to provide its citizens with energy is worrying. This security risk is especially severe where critical supplies are provided by only a few suppliers, as is the case in several Central and East European member states.
The EU has abundant renewable generation resources that can provide a safe supply of energy for almost any purpose, including heating, transport, cooking and powering all the appliances used in daily life. Electrifying the European economy can, therefore, reduce the EU’s dependence on energy imports.
The value of electrification in improving security of supply is already recognised in EU strategy. For example, the European Commission’s EU Energy Security Strategy notes that, “Today, the EU is the only major economic actor producing 50% of its electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. This trend must continue. In the long term, the Union's energy security is inseparable from and significantly fostered by its need to move to a competitive, low-carbon economy which reduces the use of imported fossil fuels.” Similarly, the EU’s long-term climate strategy towards 2050 shows that exchanging fossil fuels with domestic decarbonised sources in the form of electricity, e-fuels and hydrogen leads to a 35 percentage point reduction of the share of energy demand that must be imported.
Eurostat, “Energy Production and Imports - Statistics Explained,” 2019, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Energy_production_and_imports#More_than_half_of_EU-28_energy_needs_are_covered_by_imports.
European Commission, “EU Energy Security Strategy,” no. COM(2014) 330 (2018): 1–23.
European Commission;, “In-Depth Analysis in Support of the Commission Communication COM (2018) 773: A Clean Planet for All - A European Long-Term Strategic Vision for a Prosperous , Modern , Competitive and Climate Neutral Economy,” no. November (2018). The import dependency falls from a level of 55% in 2015 to 20% in 2050 in the net zero emission scenarios.