European Commission’s plan – called REPowerEU – aims to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace fossil gas in heating and power generation.
The European Commission outlined a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels before 2030, starting with gas, in light of the country’s military offensive in Ukraine. EU officials said the proposed measures could reduce demand for Russian gas by two-thirds.
The European Union is reluctant to impose direct sanctions on Russia’s oil, gas and coal sectors as it lacks alternative sources. But the European Commission drafted a comprehensive proposal for measures that it believes can eliminate the domestic demand for fossil fuels from the country before the end of the decade.
The United States has just announced it is banning imports of Russian oil, gas and coal. The United Kingdom said it would do essentially the same with oil by the end of the year and consider phasing out Russian gas. Brent oil jumped to as high as USD 133.15 per barrel but soon pared most of the gains for the day. Yesterday, the price briefly topped USD 139, hitting the highest mark since 2008.
The European Commission said the proposal is designed to curb energy prices and replenish gas stocks for next winter amid the uncertainty of supply. The plan – called REPowerEU – aims to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace fossil gas in heating and power generation.
The European Commission is determined to enable a rise in the planned supply of biogas by 35 billion cubic metres per year and another 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen. Building on the framework developed since the onset of the energy crisis last year, the EU is working on the introduction of support for joint procurement of gas and refilling of underground storage. Gas supplies are planned to be diversified via higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) and pipeline imports and larger volumes of biomethane and renewable hydrogen production and imports. The EU said it would step up energy efficiency measures and accelerate electrification and the deployment of renewables.
Executive VP for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans said: “It is time we tackle our vulnerabilities and rapidly become more independent in our energy choices. Let’s dash into renewable energy at lightning speed. Renewables are a cheap, clean, and potentially endless source of energy and instead of funding the fossil fuel industry elsewhere, they create jobs here. Putin’s war in Ukraine demonstrates the urgency of accelerating our clean energy transition.”
The commissioners intend to present the legislative proposal on underground gas storage by April.
The EU covers 90% of its gas consumption from other countries and Russia accounts for 45% of imports. It also has shares of 25% in incoming oil shipments and 45% in the coal purchased abroad.
PS: Underground storage of natural gas is one of the ways Europe can ensure a steady supply of gas throughout the year. We are bringing together top experts in Underground gas storage to discuss the latest developments, challenges and best practices. Joining us on the panel at Underground Gas Storage & Hydrogen Integration 2022 will be the CEO of Storengy, SVP of Energinet, Head of Gas Department of E-Control, Head of the Storage System of Ukraine, and more.
You can read more about the importance of European independence from Russian gas, fossil fuels and other natural resources in our recent article here: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and what it means for Energy in Europe