The EU proposes a roadmap of 300,000 million euros to get rid of Russian energy

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has proposed a nearly €300bn (£254bn) package, including more efficient use of fuels and faster deployment of renewable energy, in a bid to boost plans for the bloc abandon Russian energy in the midst of the Kremlin war. in Ukraine.

The investment initiative is intended to help the 27 EU countries start to phase out Russian fossil fuels this year.

The aim is to deprive Russia, the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, of tens of billions in revenue and to strengthen the EU’s climate policies.

“We are taking our ambition to another level to make sure we become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels as she announced the package, dubbed REPowerEU.

With no end in sight to Russia’s war in Ukraine and European security shaken, the EU is racing to align its geopolitical and climate interests for decades to come.

It comes amid worrying signs that have raised concerns about energy supplies the EU relies on and for which it has no quick replacements, including Russia cutting off member nations Poland and Bulgaria after they rejected a demand to pay for the natural gas in rubles.

The bloc’s race to get rid of Russian energy stems from a mix of voluntary and mandatory actions. Both reflect the political discomfort of helping to finance Russia’s military campaign in a country that neighbors the EU and wants to join the bloc.

The EU’s ban on Russian coal is due to start in August, and the bloc has pledged to try to cut demand for Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a proposed EU oil embargo has hit a snag from Hungary and other landlocked countries who worry about the cost of switching to alternative sources.

In a bid to kick Hungary behind the oil phase-out, the REPowerEU package expects oil investment funding of around two billion euros (£1.7bn) for member countries that rely heavily on oil. Russian oil.

Energy saving and renewable energy form the pillars of the package, which would be financed mainly by an economic stimulus program implemented to help member countries overcome the depression caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Von der Leyen said the price included about 72 billion euros (£61 billion) for grants and 225 billion euros (£190 billion) for loans. There was a push to finance energy efficiency and renewable energies.

The European Commission has also proposed ways to streamline approval processes in EU countries for renewable projects, which can take up to a decade to get through the red tape. The commission said approval times needed to be shortened to a year or less.

It presented a specific plan on solar energy, which seeks to double photovoltaic capacity by 2025. The commission proposed a gradual obligation to install solar panels on new buildings.

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The European Commission’s recommendations on short-term national actions to reduce Russian energy demand coincide with ongoing deliberations in the bloc since last year on setting more ambitious EU energy efficiency and renewable targets for 2030.

These targets are part of the bloc’s commitments to a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases by the end of the decade compared to 1990 emissions and to climate neutrality by 2050.

In that context, the commission urged EU lawmakers in the European Parliament and national governments to deepen their own proposals for energy saving and renewable energy targets for 2030.

Meanwhile, Danish media today reported that four EU countries plan to build wind farms in the North Sea capable of producing at least 150 gigawatts of power by 2050 to help reduce carbon emissions.

Under the plan, wind turbines would be erected off the coasts of Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten said.

The project would mean a tenfold increase in the EU’s current offshore wind capacity.

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