Study Sketches Fast Track to Net Zero

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Germany could achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2045 -- five years earlier than planned -- through a faster ramp-up of solar and wind power, according to a study by a trio of think tanks. To achieve this acceleration, Europe's largest economy would need to set a steeper greenhouse gas reduction target of 65% by 2030 (from 1990 levels) -- up from 55% under the net-zero by 2050 scenario -- the study said (IOD Dec.11'20). Achieving carbon neutrality earlier could save almost one billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the study by Agora Energiewende, Agora Verkehrswende and the Climate Neutrality Foundation. Germany would also need to phase out coal power by 2030 and ban the registration of new internal combustion engine cars after 2032. A faster expansion of German renewable power capacity would also be needed to accommodate massive growth in electricity demand. Installed solar power capacity would need to rise by a further 70 GW to reach 385 GW in 2045. Onshore wind would need to grow by an additional 17 GW to 145 GW and offshore wind would need to expand by an additional 9 GW to 70 GW. Under this expedited net-zero scenario, hydrogen would replace natural gas as the main source of baseload electricity generation after 2040 during periods when solar and wind energy are not available.

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