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Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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EU Considers Toughening Renewable Energy Targets

  • EU makes energy transition targets more ambitious.
  • The EU recently issued a plan called REPowerEU.
  • EU looks to become independent of Russian gas by 2030.

The European Union may make its renewable energy capacity buildup targets even more ambitious than they already are in light of its search for alternatives to Russian fossil fuels.

"What we will do in the next couple of weeks is work towards what I call the Repower EU initiative, and as part of that we want to accelerate the energy transition. So in that context we might revisit our targets," Frans Timmermans, the head of the EU's energy transition plan, told media, as quoted by Reuters this weekend.

This revision would mean higher renewable energy targets for 2030, Timmermans also said. As a reminder, the EU's latest ambition was to wean itself off Russian gas within a year after initially targeting a two-thirds reduction in Russian gas imports by the end of this year.

The current target share of renewable energy in the EU mix for 2030 is 40 percent, Reuters recalls in its report. The EU's net-zero plan envisages a reduction in carbon emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030.

To detail its energy diversification efforts, the EU recently issued a plan called REPowerEU, which features an obligation for all gas storage operators across Europe to have their facilities filled to at least 90 percent by October each year and higher LNG imports. Per the REPowerEU plan, the EU should become independent of Russian gas by 2030.

"It is time we tackle our vulnerabilities and rapidly become more independent in our energy choices," Frans Timmermans said in the press release detailing the plan.

"Let's dash into renewable energy at lightning speed. Renewables are a cheap, clean, and potentially endless source of energy and instead of funding the fossil fuel industry elsewhere, they create jobs here. Putin's war in Ukraine demonstrates the urgency of accelerating our clean energy transition." 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on April 11 2022 said:
    The last time the EU accelerated its energy transition at the expense of fossil fuels, it plunged itself into the worst energy crisis which has been enveloping it since 2021 and forcing its citizens to pay prohibitive energy bills.

    However, the obligation for all gas storage operators across Europe to have their facilities filled to at least 90% by October each year and higher LNG imports contradicts with its objective of becoming independent of Russian gas by 2030.

    How does the EU expect to fill its gas storage without Russian gas supplies? The EU should come to its senses and accept the fact that it is impossible for it to replace Russian gas supplies well into the future. It has also to accept that renewables on their own are incapable of satisfying its electricity demand now or ever because of their intermittent nature.

    What the EU needs is an enlightened energy policy whereby fossil fuels and renewables coexist peacefully with the latest carbon-catching technologies. As the share of renewables grows in electricity generation, less coal and gas will be needed.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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