The EU’s plan to cure its Russian gas addiction – POLITICO

According to a. has drawn up a 10-point plan to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas draft message obtained from POLITICO.

The war in Ukraine has added urgency to the EU’s efforts to wean itself off of imports from Russia, prompting Brussels to delay its long-awaited memo on tackling sky-high electricity prices and turn it into a plan to improve the continent’s energy security .

The result is a proposal to achieve “a more resilient EU energy system with measures to reduce the EU’s gas consumption and reduce dependence on a single supplier,” writes the Commission.

As part of the revised text, the Commission is considering setting mandatory gas storage levels for member countries, saying the EU needs an “average storage rate of at least 80% by September 30” to prepare for next winter.

The EU imports most of the gas it consumes, and according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Russia accounted for around 45 percent of imports last year.

The draft text, which is due to be presented on March 8 and is subject to change, also includes several measures to expand the EU’s renewable energy capacity, dubbed the “New Energy Compact”.

Brussels wants EU countries to “quickly map, assess and ensure suitable land and sea availability for renewable projects” and advocates using revenues from the EU’s carbon market, the Emissions Trading Scheme, to fund new plants.

In June, the Commission will present a recommendation on renewable energy authorization – aimed at cutting red tape and speeding up their uptake – and a standalone solar strategy.

According to the draft, solar on house roofs “could cover almost a quarter of the electricity consumption in the EU”. But it notes that the bloc was dependent on imports for panels and cells and that “20-25% of planned EU solar projects [had] either postponed or canceled entirely in 2021”, mainly due to rising energy, material and logistics costs.

The solar strategy will include measures to accelerate installations and “contribute to the development of a solar energy value chain and strengthen the EU’s competitiveness and overcome dependencies”.

Brussels also wants to promote biogas, recommending block-wide production of 35 billion cubic meters by 2030 and calling on countries to direct funds from the Common Agricultural Policy towards “biogas production from sustainable biomass sources”.

Alongside new measures, the Commission also says swift implementation of the ‘Fit for 55’ climate legislation package, currently under consideration in Council and Parliament, will be crucial. The set of proposals includes plans to make buildings more energy efficient and a framework for expanding the block’s renewable energy capacity.

“The implementation of the Fit for 55 proposals will already lead to a 23% reduction in the EU’s gas dependency by 2030,” the draft text reads.

The IEA on Thursday brought out a 10-point plan to cut EU gas imports from Russia. Among other things, it recommended minimum obligations for gas storage, steps to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and bioenergy, and more ambitious energy efficiency plans.

America Hernandez contributed coverage.

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