Decarbonising the EU through green gas would be 36% more expensive than doing so through energy efficiency and smart electrification.
That’s according to a new report published by the European Climate Foundation, which suggests this is even the case in European countries with a cold climate.
It finds that a fossil-free energy system in Europe could be reached by 2050 and could potentially create 1.8 million additional jobs by this time.
It also suggests such a system could enable potential savings in domestic energy spending of up to €23 billion (£19.6bn) compared to a current policies baseline.
The study claims using smart electrification and energy efficiency measures to improve the thermal efficiency of buildings does require upfront investment but could lead to savings of up to 22% as a result of avoiding investments in infrastructure and generation assets.
It suggests smart electrification could also reduce the need for thermal back-up by up to 54% and renewable curtailment by up to 70%, as electrifying sectors such as transport, buildings and industry would offer increased flexibility and enable more variable renewable sources to enter the grid.
It notes green hydrogen should be used in specific applications where it can add the highest value, such as seasonal storage for peak electricity supply in winter, but warns using it to decarbonise road transport and residential heating will increase energy system costs and household energy bills.
The European Climate Foundation study believes savings from using more green hydrogen are outweighed by the additional investments that would be required for electricity generation to produce them, with households potentially being forced to spend up to an additional €214 billion (£182.8bn) on energy in 2050 with an energy system heavily-reliant on green gas.