A power sector analysis of draft NECPs

Rapid decarbonisation of the power sector is central to Europe’s decarbonisation and climate goals. This paper analyses 15 draft NECPs (submitted as of 13 October), exploring what they mean for progress towards a clean power sector in Europe.

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Europe’s power system is rapidly evolving, with renewable growth beating all expectations despite a persisting energy crisis and sky-high inflation. In this context, the updated national energy and climate plans (NECPs) of EU Member States have an important role in sending long-term signals to industry and describing an ambitious vision for the future energy system. The plans submitted to date show that countries are aiming higher for wind and solar power, but lack details on key flexibility solutions to take full advantage of this new clean energy. 

This paper presents an interim analysis of 15 draft NECPs with a focus on the power sector transition. The analysis explores what updated wind and solar targets mean for the anticipated share of renewables in each country’s electricity mix and whether they are fit for achieving a clean power system in the 2030s – a central pillar for Europe’s net zero goal. A spotlight is put on clean flexibility, particularly electricity storage as a key solution that could address several emerging challenges. The key findings of this analysis are:

  • Wind and solar ambition is dramatically increased but still falls short of REPowerEU goals. The EU solar fleet is set to triple by 2030 and the wind fleet is set to double. Targets have markedly increased since 2019, by an average of 64% for solar and 49% for wind, bringing within reach a power sector aligned with REPowerEU. There is potential to accelerate further this decade, which must be maximised in order to slash fossil fuel dependence and achieve a clean power system in the 2030s.
  • More detailed plans and targets for electricity storage and flexibility are needed to ensure delivery on the targets and EU competitive advantage. There is a paucity of detail around plans to scale clean flexibility, with only six plans providing quantified targets to grow electricity storage. This is a missed opportunity to signal a strong political commitment, boosting confidence in a sector that could be at the forefront of European innovation and competitiveness.
  • Data availability and quality in available plans is generally very poor and must be improved. Participation in the process, as well as accountability and effectiveness of the plans, will suffer if the coverage and accessibility of data is not improved. 

Further data and analysis can be viewed in our live NECP tracker tool

Image credit

Guido Paradisi / Alamy Stock Photo


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