This plan also outlines a series of measures to respond to rising energy prices in Europe and to replenish gas stocks for next winter. Europe has been facing increased energy prices for several months, but now uncertainty on supply is exacerbating the problem. REPowerEU will seek to diversify gas supplies, speed up the roll-out of renewable gases and replace gas in heating and power generation. This can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two thirds before the end of the year.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans said:
“It is time we tackle our vulnerabilities and rapidly become more independent in our energy choices. 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.”
Emergency measures on energy prices and gas storage
The Commission's ‘Energy Prices Toolbox' from last October has helped Member States to mitigate the impact of high prices on vulnerable consumers and it remains an important framework for national measures. Today the Commission is presenting Member States with additional guidance, confirming the possibility to regulate prices in exceptional circumstances, and setting out how Member States can redistribute revenue from high energy sector profits and emissions trading to consumers. EU State Aid rules also offer Member States options to provide short-term support to companies affected by high energy prices, and help reduce their exposure to energy price volatility in the medium to long term. Following a consultation on targeted amendments to the Emission Trading System State aid Guidelines, the Commission will also be consulting with Member States onthe needs for and scope of a new State aid Temporary Crisis Framework to grant aid to companies affected by the crisis, in particular those facing high energy costs.
The Commission intends to present by April a legislative proposal requiring underground gas storage across the EU to be filled up to at least 90% of its capacity by 1 October each year. The proposal would entail the monitoring and enforcement of filling levels and build in solidarity arrangements between Member States. The Commission continuesits investigation into the gas market in response to concerns about potential distortions of competition by operators, notably Gazprom.
To address the skyrocketing energy prices, the Commission will look into all possible options for emergency measures to limit the contagion effect of gas prices in electricity prices, such as temporary price limits. It will also assess options to optimise the electricity market design taking into account the final report of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) and other contributions on benefits and drawbacks of alternative pricing mechanisms to keep electricity affordable, without disrupting supply and further investment in the green transition.
REPowerEU – eliminating our dependence on Russian gas before 2030
Phasing out our dependence on fossil fuels from Russia can be done well before 2030. To do so, the Commission proposes to develop a REPowerEU plan that will increase the resilience of the EU-wide energy system based on two pillars: Diversifying gas supplies, via higher Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and pipelineimports from non-Russian suppliers, and larger volumes of biomethane and renewable hydrogen production and imports; and, reducing faster the use of fossil fuels in our homes, buildings, industry, and power system, by boosting energy efficiency, increasing renewables and electrification, and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.
Full implementation of the Commission's ‘Fit for 55' proposals would already reduce our annual fossil gas consumption by 30%, equivalent to 100 billion cubic metres (bcm), by 2030. With the measures in the REPowerEU plan, we couldgradually remove at least 155 bcm of fossil gas use, which is equivalent to the volume imported from Russia in 2021. Nearly two thirds of that reduction can be achieved within a year, ending the EU's overdependence on a single supplier. The Commission proposes to work with Member States to identify the most suitable projects to meet these objectives, building on the extensive work done already on national Recovery and Resilience Plans.
- Publication date
- 8 March 2022
- Representation in Ireland