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Stricter, greener, more economical: this is how the European Commission wants to get rid of Russian gas

The European Union wants to get rid of Russian gas. Next year, imports must be cut by two thirds and by 2027 the EU countries must have completely stopped using Russian gas. The European Commission presented an action plan this morning to achieve this goal. Cost: 300 billion euros.

“The Russian invasion has given our sustainable transition an extra sense of urgency,” says European Commissioner Frans Timmermans. “It creates new challenges, but make no mistake, we are staying on this path.”

Last year, European sustainability plans were already presented. But the war in Ukraine has made it clear that things need to go even faster. The EU is highly dependent on Russian fossil energy. Member States are partly financing the war in Ukraine through the large-scale purchase of gas and oil from Russia. They are also extremely vulnerable to the erratic behavior of Russian President Putin who recently turned off the gas on Poland and Bulgaria.

The Commission is now proposing that Member States do a number of things. They need to save energy, look for more different energy suppliers and become less dependent on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

First of all, energy consumption has to be reduced quickly. Stricter requirements are now being imposed on this. Initially, the member states had to reduce energy consumption by 9 percent by 2030. The Commission wants to tighten this to 13 percent. The intention is that houses are better insulated and appliances consume less energy.

New energy sources

The gas has to be partly replaced by liquefied gas or coal. But above all, Brussels wants an accelerated transition to sustainable energy in the next five years. Last year, the goal was that by 2030 40 percent of energy should come from renewable sources. The goal is now to achieve 45 percent renewable energy generation by 2030.

The Commission expects results from solar energy the fastest. All new large buildings must be equipped with solar panels by 2025. From 2029, all new homes must also have solar panels. The intention is that a large part of the solar panels will be produced in Europe. In the coming period, this sector must be given a boost to be able to compete with cheap Chinese solar panels.

A doubling of the number of heat pumps should mean that at least a part of European households can get rid of gas. The Netherlands announced this week that it was already anticipating European plans.

Green hydrogen

But the industry will also have to get rid of gas. Although the EU now initially wants to purchase gas together, the intention is that this cooperation will mainly be used in a few years to buy green hydrogen together. Hydrogen is seen as an alternative to gas and coal in industry. The demand for hydrogen is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. In the pandemic years, the joint procurement of corona vaccines was started. This approach must now be repeated when purchasing gas and then hydrogen, according to the Commission.

The farmers must also contribute to alternatives to Russian gas. Biomethane (made from cow manure) is regarded by the Commission as green energy. The intention is that livestock farmers will produce considerably more biomethane than the numbers mentioned in previous sustainability plans.

Show me the money

There is no lack of ambitions, but the plans will cost a lot of money. Until 2030, the costs are estimated at 300 billion euros. This amount does not have to be coughed up immediately by the European taxpayer. The EU hopes to save about 100 billion by no longer buying gas from Russia. In addition, there is still 225 billion in loans in the corona recovery fund.

The Commission wants Member States to use those loans to finance all these plans. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that we incur these costs,” says Timmermans. “It creates jobs but also makes energy costs less sensitive to geopolitical tensions.”

Stricter, greener, more economical: this is how the European Commission wants to get rid of Russian gas
Source link Stricter, greener, more economical: this is how the European Commission wants to get rid of Russian gas

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