Away from Russian energy: Luxembourg demands a speed limit in the EU

Far from Russian energy
Luxembourg demands speed limits in the EU

How can the European Union break free from dependence on Russian oil and gas supplies? The European Commission is today presenting a comprehensive package. Other proposals come from Member States. Luxembourg sees a potential for savings, particularly in car traffic.

Luxembourg Energy Minister Claude Turmes is calling for an EU-wide speed limit to break energy imports from Russia. “What we need at EU level is an EU-wide coordinated speed limit and two days of teleworking per week,” said Claude Turmes. Together with car-free weekends in major European cities, this could save 2.5 million barrels of oil. “I urge the Commission not to miss the opportunity to put Europe on this path,” Turmes said.

This Wednesday, the European Commission is presenting a comprehensive plan to supply the EU with long-term energy without fossil fuels from Russia. In addition to higher energy saving targets, the authority also wants more ambition in the expansion of renewable energies, as evidenced by the projects made available to the German press agency. Texts are subject to change.

Massive expansion of solar energy

For example, 45% of EU energy should come from renewable sources by 2030, instead of the 40% previously planned. At the same time, it is likely that it will be proposed to reduce energy consumption by at least 13% by the end of the decade, instead of the 9% previously forecast. There is no explicit mention of a speed limit in the projects – however, other proposals must be presented to reduce energy consumption. In total, according to the plans, the EU must invest around 195 billion euros by 2027 to become independent of Russian energy – on top of the initiatives already planned under the “Fit for 55” climate package.

Among other things, the number of solar energy systems is expected to more than double by 2028 according to European Commission projects. For example, the Commission wants all industrial buildings to be equipped with solar cells, and new buildings will follow. In addition, it should present a legislative initiative for shorter approval procedures of up to one year for certain plants.

The Commission is also banking on climate-friendly hydrogen, which is produced from green electricity and can partly replace gas. Among other things, she wants to present the production specifications here. By 2030, 10 million tonnes will be produced in the EU and another 10 million tonnes will be imported, according to preliminary documents. The Commission is also counting on new gas suppliers such as the United States. In the event of an emergency where Russia closes the gas tap, it also wants to propose a gas price cap in the EU.

Various funding sources

According to the project, the money for the implementation of the reforms should come from the kitty of the EU agricultural policy or from the Cohesion Fund for regional development. Additional funds could therefore come from the auctioning of new emissions trading certificates (ETS). In the system, for example, electricity generators have to buy certificates for the emission of climate-damaging gases.

The total sum is unclear from the projects. According to European sources, it could be around 200 billion euros. According to the project, the allocation of funds should be organized through the RRF development instrument created as a result of the Corona crisis. According to MEP Markus Pieper, the package contains more ambitious expansion targets for renewables – which is welcome. Elsewhere, improvements need to be made: “Some of the proposals are going dangerously wrong, such as with the specifications for hydrogen production,” the CDU politician said. These contained unsatisfactory specifications for the industry.

Green MP Michael Bloss also reacted positively. “The European Commission takes a step towards 100% renewable energy”. A European solar bond and increased renewables expansion targets are important signs. Bloss, however, criticized the package’s planned funding. Selling an additional million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) through emissions trading means more CO2 emissions. “Unleashing a carbon storm to fund the package cannot be our goal,” Bloss said.

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