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EU making progress in reducing reliance on Russian fossil fuels, promoting energy independence.

EU on Track to Reduce Reliance on Russian Fossil Fuels

The European Union’s Progress towards Energy Independence

The European Union (EU) is making significant strides in its efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by the end of this decade, according to the European Commission. This development comes as a response to the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to a drastic cut in gas deliveries and record-high gas prices across Europe.

Decreasing Reliance on Russian Gas

As stated in a recent report, the EU expects imports of Russian gas to decline to 40-45 billion cubic meters this year, a significant drop from the 155 bcm imported in 2021. To achieve this, the EU has imposed sanctions on Russian coal and seaborne oil imports. However, the Commission warns against complacency, emphasizing the need to remain vigilant.

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Exploring Alternative Suppliers

In order to replace Russian gas, EU countries have increased their imports from other suppliers while simultaneously reducing gas consumption. Norway has emerged as the EU’s largest pipeline gas supplier, surpassing Russia. Furthermore, liquefied gas imports, particularly from the United States, have experienced a surge. The EU’s gas storage caverns are currently 99% full, providing countries with a buffer against potential supply shocks during the winter.

Shift towards Renewable Energy

Europe’s transition away from gas-fueled power plants has been facilitated by a record expansion of solar energy, which has reduced the reliance on gas during peak power usage periods. However, the Commission highlights that EU countries are not progressing fast enough in adopting renewable energy sources to meet their legally binding target of obtaining 42.5% of all energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Supporting Europe’s Wind Energy Industry

To accelerate the adoption of renewable energy, the Commission has published a plan to assist Europe’s struggling wind energy industry. This sector is currently grappling with high inflation and increasing competition from Chinese companies. The plan aims to address these challenges and foster the growth of wind energy in Europe.

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While analysts suggest that a return to the record-high gas prices seen last year is unlikely, global gas markets remain tight, leaving room for potential price increases in response to cold weather or further supply disruptions. The EU must continue its efforts to diversify energy sources and invest in renewable solutions to ensure a sustainable and secure energy future.

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