The EU has unveiled plans to end its reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia by 2030 following the county's invasion of Ukraine.
This will include cutting demand for Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of this year, which will involve diversifying gas supplies, accelerating the roll-out of renewable gases, and replacing gas in heating and power generation.
The REPowerEU plans also outline a series of measures to respond to rising energy prices in Europe and replenish gas stocks for next winter.
Alternative pricing mechanisms to keep electricity affordable, without disrupting supply and further investment in the green transition, are under consideration.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “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.”
Brent crude oil prices rose to a 14-year high of $139 on Monday after several nations indicated their intention to ban imports from Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.
The EU unveiled its new plans after more than 6,000 businesses called on the bloc to “double down” on its proposals for a green energy transition and bring an end to Europe's reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
In an open letter, the European Corporate Leaders Group and We Mean Business Coalition said that the EU's Green Deal must be at the heart of Europe's future energy security.
Specifically, the letter calls for an acceleration of electrification across industry, transport, heat and buildings, and for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels, investments in fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies.
It also calls for a renewed focus on energy efficiency and the circular economy, and increased support for EU citizens and the economy to cope with high energy prices and the energy transition.
“For some time, people across the EU have been impacted with volatile fossil fuel prices that increase energy costs and add to inflation,” the letter states. “Gas prices are five times higher than just a year ago and are set to remain high in the medium term.
“We need to dramatically reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels by doubling down on the energy transition in the EU Green Deal.”
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