Status: 19/05/2022 10:46
With the EU’s billion-euro plan for independence from Russian energy supplies, Europe could also hit climate targets faster – if all goes well. But how will it be paid for?
The first step has been taken: the European Union buys a third less gas from Russia than a year ago. According to the plan of the European Commission, in a few years it will completely do without energy supplies from Russia – relying on other suppliers, saving more energy and quickly switching to energy sun, wind and water.
Studio ARD Brussels
In recent months, the EU has already purchased record quantities from other suppliers, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States or the Norwegian gas pipeline. The EU is also negotiating with African countries and Gulf states like Qatar, one of the largest LNG producers in the world. In future, Member States will be able to jointly purchase gas, LNG or hydrogen via an energy platform. This should help get better prices. If Moscow completely closes the gas tap, the Commission does not rule out a price cap in order to keep costs bearable.
The Commission considers energy saving as an effective and easy to implement means. According to the authority’s estimates, this could reduce gas and oil consumption by five percent in the short term. Brussels calls on Member States to introduce tax incentives and raise awareness among households and industry accordingly. Citizens should ride bicycles instead of driving, turn down the heat or use air conditioning wisely in the summer.
Planned doubling of solar power
The Commission hopes to have an even bigger effect by switching from fossil fuels to solar, wind and water power faster than expected. In doing so, the Commission builds on its concepts for the Green Deal, the sustainable restructuring of Europe. But under the impression of tensions with Russia, the transition to renewable energies should go faster than planned in the Green Deal: their share in the energy mix should increase to 45% by 2030 instead of the 40% previously planned. To this end, solar power must be doubled by 2025. For new public and commercial buildings, the commission proposes a requirement for solar cells from 2025, and four years later for residential buildings as well.
European Commission presents plans for renewable energy and energy independence
Roman Rusch, ARD Brussels, daily news at 8 p.m., May 19, 2022
To ensure that energy from the sun and wind arrives faster, Brussels wants to push the approval process forward and identify priority areas for expansion. Wind farm approval procedures can currently take up to nine years, but Brussels wants to shorten procedures to one year in some areas.
Money from the Corona Fund for the energy transition
The program called RepowerEU costs colossal sums: Commission President von der Leyen speaks of up to 300 billion euros by 2030, her power of 210 billion additional investments by 2027. The Commission, in On the other hand, calculates that the import of Russian gas and oil will cost the EU almost 100 billion dollars – per year. The money for the energy transition should come, among others, from the Corona Reconstruction Fund (RRF). This includes 225 billion available loans.
Brussels also relies on funds from the Cohesion Fund for regional development and the common agricultural policy. European emissions trading could bring about 20 billion euros. To this end, the Commission considers that emission certificates which have been withdrawn from the market could be auctioned.
According to Green MEP Rasmus Andresen, Member States must now provide funding. It recognizes the correct signals in the program. CDU MEP Markus Pieper sees it the same way, but criticizes that the guidelines are too strict in some areas.
Environmental groups welcome the planned expansion of renewables, but demand that environmental aspects not be overlooked in faster approval processes. The Federal Association of German Industry welcomes the fact that the planning and approval processes should be accelerated.
Getting out of Russia’s energy dependence: Brussels presents a multi-billion package
Jakob Mayr, BR Brussels, 19.5.2022 10.03 a.m.