Energy

Europe moves towards renewables in its divorce from Russian gas

Europe moves towards renewable...
Europe is rushing to free itself from its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, and the result could be an impressive boost for clean energy projects
Europe is rushing to free itself from its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, and the result could be an impressive boost for clean energy projects
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Europe is rushing to free itself from its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, and the result could be an impressive boost for clean energy projects
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Europe is rushing to free itself from its dependence on Russian fossil fuel imports, and the result could be an impressive boost for clean energy projects

The European Union is currently pumping about US$118 million a day into Russia due to its dependence on natural gas. The new REPowerEU plan is a chance to cut that figure down fast, and accelerate the transition to green energy in the process.

Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels is a huge vulnerability in times of international crisis. Currently, Russia supplies about 45 percent of EU gas imports, 25 percent of EU oil imports and 45 percent of coal imports, and "skyrocketing" energy prices have begun to hit consumers as a result of the current conflict in Ukraine.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen made her thoughts clear: "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."

As a result, the Commission has outlined a plan that could slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year, and completely cut off fossil fuel supply from Russia "well before 2030," while pouring money into renewable energy to fast-track the transition to zero emissions.

"It is time we tackle our vulnerabilities and rapidly become more independent in our energy choices," said Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. "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."

The European Commission initially plans to diversify its natural gas imports, leaning more heavily on non-Russian suppliers. It'll also move to increase production and imports of biomethane and "renewable hydrogen." There will also be a focus on measures to reduce energy use in residential, commercial and industrial buildings through efficiency tweaks.

In order to buffer against price volatility next winter, the Commission is also proposing that EU gas storage reserves need to be filled beyond 90 percent by October 2022.

But the more lasting change could come in the form of accelerated transitions to clean energy, including more solar and wind power, and programs to replace up to 10 million gas-fired heating systems with efficient, electric heat pumps. There are certainly vast opportunities here for green hydrogen producers too.

We'll know over the coming months how effectively the rubber hits the road on these proposals, but there's a chance that Putin's brutal march to war could end up accelerating Europe's green transition, making him somewhat of a modern Genghis Khan, eco-warrior.

Source: European Commission

13 comments
13 comments
Robin
Europe is stupid, Germany spent 500 billion on ENR, closed its nuclear power and is now tied to Russian gas! Never say ENR alone, it is always ENR + substitution which is usually coal or gas. Saying ENR alone is like talking about a car without an engine, it only runs downhill! we need controllable energy. Dams, Geothermal, Step, nuclear are real solutions. We can depend on the sun or the wind to get energy, that's stupid!
imac1957
So the EU was happy to drift along in the face of a critical danger to the entire globe due to climate change that has reached a catastrophic situation, but now that a traditional issue of being threatened by Russia has come along it is all hands to the pumps to reduce oil and gas usage!!?? What is the problem politicians have with existential threats to all human life? It is not as important as having to buy from someone unfriendly???? I don't know whether to laugh or cry about this.
David F
Too much politics and greed, and not enough science and common sense, has led to a situation in which the infatuation with carbon dioxide has national energy systems so fragile it took war to awaken Europe from its eco la-la-land.
windykites
Renewable energy goes into the energy market at the going price. It might be cheaper to produce, but that doesn't help.
Catweazle
And then night fell...
And the wind dropped...
So the lights went out and everything ground to a halt.
DaveWesely
I find it rather ironic that the EU is being criticized for not switching to renewables fast enough when they are further along that path than most other nations.
Expanded Viewpoint
Good grief!! What is Frans smoking these days? What are the renewables he's talking about there, that are cheap, clean and potentially endless sources of energy? If he knew about them being so cheap, clean and limitless before, then why wasn't he pursuing them in anticipation of this turn of events? Did he really think that things would go on the same way forever? The world is a volatile place to live in, always changing on us. He's just blowing smoke, no pun intended.
Douglas Rogers
Again, H2O, mainly over equatorial deserts, is 95% of the greenhouse effect. Energy that is at low thermodynamic potential requires a disproportionately large expenditure on infrastructure. It is often said, "solar is gas".
itstherightone
We're all stuck in this position because politicians and leaders have done next to nothing and have depended too much on oil. In spite of the fact
that nuclear power has leftover waste that's hard to dispose of it's a necessary evil. Governments should also be exploring hydrogen, mini nuclear plants
subsidizing more solar and wind farms, and even geothermal. They have a new drill now that drill deep enough to get free energy as well that would replace
every power plant worldwide but it's not even in the news.
Signguy
Look to Texas, USA, for what NOT to do with wind/solar!
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