The True Costs of Decarbonisation Webinar

Under the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to aim for a reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre‑industrial levels. This commitment requires a massive effort to decarbonise energy and electricity generation, a radical restructuring of the electric power sector and the rapid deployment of large amounts of low‑carbon generation technologies, in particular nuclear energy and renewable energies such as wind and solar PV.

Ongoing NEA work assesses the costs of alternative low-carbon electricity systems capable of achieving strict carbon emission reductions consistent with the 2°C target. A forthcoming study analyses several deep decarbonisation scenarios achieving the same stringent carbon emission target but characterised by different shares of variable renewable technologies, hydroelectric power and nuclear energy.

The webinar will address three questions important for policymakers and provides elements for making evidence‑based policy decisions:

  • What is the optimal mix of low‑carbon generation technologies to achieve decarbonisation in a cost‑effective manner, what are the added costs of reaching a given CO2 emission target with exogenously imposed shares of variable generation?
  • What are the technologies available to policy‑makers to reach the ultimate goal of decarbonising electricity systems while considering cost‑effectiveness, reliability and security of supply?
  • What are the key policy instruments to ensure a cost‑effective and reliable electricity system and enable the required level of investment in low‑carbon generation technologies for the transition towards deeply decarbonised electricity systems?

OECD Secretary‑General Angel GurríaNEA Director‑General William D. Magwood, IV, and Jan Horst Keppler, Senior Economic Advisor at the NEA, will provide a briefing on the key findings of the forthcoming report. They will then be joined by Bernard Salha, Director of R&D at Électricité de France and Sama Bilbao y León, Head, Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics at the NEA for a discussion of the importance of system costs in assessing the overall costs of the energy transitions under way, which almost invariably include commitments to high shares of variable generation.