The EU is seeking to diversify its energy sources away from Russia gas imports amid energy security concerns in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
The European Union will outline a plan to cut Russian gas imports by almost 80% within this year to end the bloc’s dependency on the country’s fuel supplies.
EU’s executive branch is currently revising its energy strategy following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, triggering energy security concerns. To step up the EU’s move towards self-efficiency, the bloc aims to tap into new gas supplies including importing more liquefied natural gas (LNG), and rapidly scale up renewable energy generation.
“I think we can present a plan tomorrow that will substantially reduce our dependency on Russian gas already this year and within years will make us independent of the import of Russian gas,” said Frans Timmermans, the EU’s climate chief. “I think that’s possible. It’s not easy, but it’s feasible.”
Currently, about 40% of the EU’s gas sources come from Russia, with Italy, Germany and several central European countries particularly reliant on it. Russia also provides about 25% of crude oil to the bloc.
The roadmap will see higher LNG imports and pipeline supplies from countries like Qatar, Egypt and Australia, accelerate renewable energy, and shift towards electrification. When combined, it has the potential to effectively replace the 155 billion cubic metres of gas the EU currently imports from Russia. This plan will also help protect economies from impacts from price spikes and surges.
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According to Timmermans, the revised energy strategy could still meet EU’s climate goals, which is to slash greenhouse gas emission by at least 55% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
While some member states will likely opt to depend on burning coal longer rather than switching to gas, many countries have already experienced the economic impacts from the invasion. Energy costs are at record levels, with some European governments already spending tens of billions of euros to protect consumers and industries from the impact of the crisis. The new plan could encourage nations to rethink using gas as a transitional energy source before switching to renewables.
“Creating your own energy resources is the smartest and most urgent choice,” Timmermans added.
Germany has also recently announced it is bringing forward its target and will aim for all power generation in the country to be from renewable sources by 2035, 15 years ahead of its original timeline. Much like the EU, Germany is seeking to diversify its energy sources as the country currently relies on Russia for more than half its natural gas.
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