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EU unveils €210billion energy security plan to break with Russia, fast-track renewable sources

By David Coffey with RFI
Russia  Shutterstock
MAY 18, 2022 LISTEN
© Shutterstock

The European Commission has unveiled a €210 billion plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, and to use the pivot away from Moscow to quicken its transition to green energy.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Europe's top gas supplier, has prompted the European Union to rethink its energy policies amid sharpened concerns of supply shocks.

Russia supplies 40 percent of the bloc's gas and 27 percent of its imported oil, and EU countries are struggling to agree sanctions on the latter.

To wean countries off those fuels, Brussels proposed a three-pronged plan: a switch to import more non-Russian gas, a faster rollout of renewable energy, and more effort to save energy.

The measures include a mix of EU laws, non-binding schemes, and recommendations to governments in the EU's 27 member countries, who are largely in charge of their national energy policies.

Taken together, Brussels expects them to require €210 billion in extra investments by 2027 and €300 billion by 2030 on top of those already needed to meet the bloc's 2030 climate target.

Ultimately, it said the investments would slash Europe's fossil fuel import bill.

EU ramps-up 2030 renewable energy targets

Brussels wants countries to finance the measures using the EU's €800 billion Covid-19 recovery fund, and said it will also sell extra carbon market permits from a reserve over the next few years to raise €20 billion.

To spearhead the plans, the Commission proposed a higher legally binding target to get 45 percent of EU energy from renewable sources by 2030, replacing its current 40 percent proposal.

That would see the EU more than double its renewable energy capacity to 1,236 gigawatts by 2030 and be aided by a law allowing simpler one-year permits for wind and solar projects.

The EU also proposed phasing in obligations for countries to fit new buildings with solar panels.

Another target would cut EU energy consumption 13 percent by 2030 against expected levels, replacing its current 9 percent proposal.

The EU is also negotiating laws to renovate buildings faster to use less energy, and said voluntary actions such as driving less or turning down thermostats could cut gas and oil demand by 5 percent.

The legally binding targets will, however, require approval from EU countries and lawmakers.

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