The Future of the European Electricity Grid Is Bright: Cost Minimizing Optimization Shows Solar with Storage as Dominant Technologies to Meet European Emissions Targets to 2050
Journal article, 2017

The European roadmap for the power sector dictates an 80–95% cut of existing levels of carbon dioxide emissions is needed by the year 2050 to meet climate goals. This article describes results from a linear cost optimization investment model, ELIN, coupled with a solar technology model, Distributed Concentrating Solar Combined Heat and Power (DCS-CHP), using published investment costs for a comprehensive suite of renewable and conventional electricity generation technologies, to compare possible scenarios for the future electricity grid. The results of these model runs and sensitivity analyses indicate that: (1) solar photovoltaics (PV) with battery storage will likely play a very large role in meeting European targets; (2) concentrating solar power (CSP) with thermal energy storage is at a slight economic disadvantage with respect to PV to compete economically; (3) the economic potential of wind power is only comparable with solar PV if high wind penetration levels are allowed in the best wind sites in Europe; and (4) carbon capture and nuclear technologies are unlikely to compete economically with renewable technologies in creating a low-carbon future grid.

solar power

energy systems

energy storage


Zack Norwood

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Joel Goop

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Energy Technology

Mikael Odenberger

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Energy Technology


1996-1073 (ISSN)

Vol. 10 12

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Energy Systems

Areas of Advance




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