How Europe can reduce its dependence on Russian gas, according to the IEA

Wind generators and photo voltaic panels in fields within the Seine-Maritime division of Normandy, France on Monday 1. 24. 2022. Photographer: Nathan Laine / Bloomberg by way of Getty Pictures

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures Photographer: Nathan Laine / Bloomberg by way of Getty Pictures

Europe’s dependence on Russian pure fuel has given Vladimir Putin affect within the European Union, making it harder to impose vitality sanctions on the nation as a punishment for attacking Ukraine.

Nonetheless, closing the Russian pure fuel connector will likely be troublesome to do shortly. That is due each to the EU’s dependence on it and to the EU’s dedication to limiting its greenhouse fuel emissions.

The EU imported 155 billion cubic meters of pure fuel from Russia in 2021, representing nearly half (45%) of the EU’s fuel imports and nearly 40% of its whole fuel consumption. Switching from burning pure fuel to burning coal is a fast repair that’s technically attainable, but it surely is not going to assist the EU meet its local weather targets.

The Worldwide Power Company (IEA), an vitality coverage group with members from 31 nationwide governments, believes it has a greater approach.

The group just lately introduced a plan for Europe to cut back its dependence on Russian pure fuel by a 3rd a yr, whereas nonetheless complying with the European Inexperienced Settlement, the EU’s settlement to cut back web greenhouse fuel emissions by no less than 55% from 1990 ranges. 2030

The withdrawal of the IEA, aptly named the “10-point plan to cut back the European Union’s dependence on Russian pure fuel”, is a set of measures to diversify Europe’s vitality provide, speed up its transition to renewable vitality sources and concentrate on vitality effectivity.

“Nobody has any illusions anymore. Using Russia’s pure fuel assets as an financial and political weapon reveals that Europe should act shortly to be ready to face vital uncertainty over Russia’s fuel provides subsequent winter,” IEA Director Normal Fatih Birol mentioned in an announcement. written assertion of the plan.

Here’s a abstract of ten suggestions:

Don’t renew fuel provide agreements with Russia. The European Union presently has an settlement with the Russian state-owned multinational vitality firm Gazprom to import greater than 15 billion cubic meters of fuel a yr. The settlement is because of expire on the finish of 2022. The EU ought to enable this and different fuel import agreements to lapse.

Substitute out of date pure fuel from Russia with new pure fuel contracts from different sources. Home manufacturing and imports of pure fuel from different sources, together with Azerbaijan and Norway, will enhance by as a lot as 10 billion cubic meters subsequent yr in comparison with 2021, which can assist. Nonetheless, the IEA additionally says the EU ought to enhance imports of liquefied pure fuel (LNG), which is pure fuel cooled to about -260 ° Fahrenheit to make it simpler to move on ships or vans.

The IEA additionally recommends that the EU enhance its provide of biogas and biomethane, however it is going to take time for these provide chains to develop. Equally, in low-carbon “inexperienced” hydrogen provide chains made by electrolysis.

Retailer extra fuel. Fuel storage gives any space with a security buffer when the seasons change, in excessive circumstances or on this case in struggle. The IEA’s operational storage capability would have been crammed to 90% by October 1 to maintain houses heat in the course of the winter.

Speed up the deployment of renewable vitality sources resembling wind and photo voltaic. In 2022, electrical energy produced from renewable vitality sources within the EU is predicted to extend by 15% in comparison with 2021, due to aggressive additions of recent photo voltaic and wind energy vegetation and favorable climate situations. The IEA recommends rushing up ongoing renewable vitality initiatives by correcting allow delays. This might require extra administrative workers, clear communication between completely different licensing workplaces, clear deadlines and digitization of functions.

Maintain current nuclear energy vegetation open and use biopower vegetation on a full scale. A few of Europe’s nuclear reactors had been decommissioned in 2021 for upkeep and security inspections, however when energy vegetation return to operation in 2022, it is going to enhance the EU’s clear vitality manufacturing. As soon as constructed, nuclear energy vegetation produce vitality with out greenhouse fuel emissions. The extent of business nuclear energy can also be anticipated to start out at Finland’s new nuclear energy plant in 2022, which helps the EU’s vitality targets.

A small handful of nuclear reactors had been scheduled to be decommissioned in 2022 and 2023, but when the reactors stay operational, it might cut back EU demand for pure fuel in Russia.

Biopower vegetation, which function at solely 50% capability, would even be fueled and full.

Shield susceptible prospects. As vitality costs rise, vitality corporations are doing effectively, however prospects might battle badly. The EU should be ready to assist low-income prospects from paying for his or her excessive vitality payments. One option to clarify the present high-price market is to quickly tax the extreme income of vitality corporations and use the cash raised to pay vitality payments for low-income prospects.

Speed up the substitute of fuel boilers with warmth pumps. The IEA calls on the EU to hurry up the substitute of fuel stoves with warmth pumps in houses.

Doubling the set up price of warmth pumps in houses would value the EU $ 16.3 billion (€ 15 billion) and save an extra 2 billion cubic meters of fuel within the first yr. Based on the IEA, it might be supreme to extend vitality effectivity initiatives at dwelling on the similar time.

Speed up vitality effectivity packages in buildings and industrial amenities. Presently, round 1% of EU buildings are retrofitted extra vitality environment friendly every year. Enhancing the vitality effectivity of buildings is working, however it’s progressing slowly. To maximise affect, the EU ought to concentrate on bettering the vitality effectivity of the least vitality environment friendly houses and non-residential buildings.

As well as, the IEA is proposing to hurry up the set up of good thermostats to cut back vitality demand. Deployment might be accelerated, for instance, by supporting households to put in one.

Ask the viewers to cut back their heating. Most buildings within the EU have a median of virtually 72 levels Fahrenheit, and asking customers to decrease their thermostat to 1.8 levels Fahrenheit or 1 diploma Celsius may cut back fuel demand by 10 billion cubic meters.

Add low-emission community reliability mechanisms. The IEA recommends that the EU concentrate on rising the pliability of the electrical energy grid, each when it comes to resilience to seasonal fluctuations and in managing short-term demand peaks. Presently, the EU manages vitality community demand payments and payments for saved pure fuel.

Enhancing the reliability and resilience of the community sooner or later depends upon a various vary of options, together with each battery know-how and different large-scale, long-term vitality storage applied sciences. Some low-carbon gases produced within the EU, resembling biomethane, low-carbon hydrogen and artificial methane, could also be a part of bettering community reliability, however they aren’t sufficient.

It’s value noting that the IEA’s plan is pale compared to the information of one other plan coming from the EU on Tuesday, which can lower Russian pure fuel imports by 80% subsequent yr.

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