The European Commission has proposed an outline of a plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels ‘well before’ 2030, starting with gas, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This plan also outlines a series of measures to respond to rising energy prices in Europe and to replenish gas stocks for next winter.
REPowerEU will seek to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace gas in heating and power generation. According to the European Commission, this can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen commented on the announcement on 8th March: “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas. We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.
“We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition. The quicker we switch to renewables and hydrogen, combined with more energy efficiency, the quicker we will be truly independent and master our energy system.
“I will be discussing the Commission’s ideas with European leaders at Versailles later this week, and then working to swiftly implement them with my team.”
The Commission intends to present by April a legislative proposal requiring underground gas storage across the EU to be filled up to at least 90% of its capacity by 1 October each year.
The proposal would entail the monitoring and enforcement of filling levels and build in solidarity arrangements between European Union Member States.
The Commission continues its investigation into the gas market in response to concerns about potential distortions of competition by operators.
To address the skyrocketing energy prices, the Commission will look into all possible options for emergency measures to limit the contagion effect of gas prices in electricity prices, such as temporary price limits.
It will also assess options to optimise the electricity market design taking into account the final report of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and other contributions on benefits and drawbacks of alternative pricing mechanisms to keep electricity affordable, without disrupting supply and further investment in the green transition.
The Commission proposes to develop a REPowerEU plan that will increase the resilience of the EU-wide energy system based on two pillars:
- Diversifying gas supplies, via higher Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and pipeline imports from non-Russian suppliers, and larger volumes of biomethane and renewable hydrogen production and imports.
- Reducing faster the use of fossil fuels in homes, buildings, industry, and power system, by boosting energy efficiency, increasing renewables and electrification, and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.
More information about this announcement is available on the European Commission website.