The International Energy Agency (IEA) informs that EU could reduce its imports of Russian natural gas by more than one-third within a year, by combining some key measures that are consistent with the European Green Deal.
The IEA’s 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas includes a range of complementary actions that can be taken in the coming months, such as turning more to other suppliers, drawing on other energy sources and accelerating efforts to provide consumers, businesses and industry with the means to use clean and efficient alternatives to natural gas.
#1 No new gas supply contracts with Russia
#2 Replace Russian supplies with gas from alternative sources
#3 Introduce minimum gas storage obligations to enhance market resilience
#4 Accelerate the deployment of new wind and solar projects
#5 Maximize generation from existing dispatchable low-emissions sources: bioenergy and nuclear
#6 Enact short-term measures to shelter vulnerable electricity consumers from high prices
#7 Speed up the replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps
#8 Accelerate energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industry
#9 Encourage a temporary thermostat adjustment by consumers
#10 Step up efforts to diversify and decarbonize sources of power system flexibility
IEA notes that today’s crisis raises the specific question about imports from Russia and what more can be done in the immediate future to bring them down.
Nobody is under any illusions anymore. Russia’s use of its natural gas resources as an economic and political weapon show Europe needs to act quickly to be ready to face considerable uncertainty over Russian gas supplies next winter
…IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
The IEA’s 10-Point Plan provides practical steps to cut Europe’s reliance on Russian gas imports by over a third within a year while supporting the shift to clean energy in a secure and affordable way. Europe needs to rapidly reduce the dominant role of Russia in its energy markets and ramp up the alternatives as quickly as possible
…Fatih Birol added.
IEA estimates that taken together, these steps could reduce the European Union’s imports of Russian gas by more than 50 billion cubic meters, or over one-third, within a year. This takes into account the need for additional refilling of European gas storage facilities in 2022.
According to the analysis, IEA notes that there are also other avenues available to the EU if it wishes or needs to reduce reliance on Russian gas even more quickly – but with significant trade-offs. The major near-term option would involve switching away from gas consumption in the power sector via increased use of Europe’s coal-fired fleet or by using alternative fuels, such as oil, within existing gas-fired power plants.
However, given that these alternatives to gas use are not aligned with the European Green Deal, they are not included in the 10-Point Plan described above.
Concluding, IEA mentions that reducing reliance on Russian gas will not be simple for the EU, requiring a concerted and sustained policy effort across multiple sectors, alongside strong international dialogue on energy markets and security.
Strengthened international collaboration with alternative pipeline and LNG exporters is of outmost importance. Clear communication between governments, industry and consumers is also an essential element for successful implementation.
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