EU warns towards fossil gas ‘backsliding’ as coal replaces Russian gasoline

The Eu Fee president has warned EU member states to not go into reverse on their long-term pressure to chop fossil gas use, as Germany, Austria and the Netherlands mentioned they might fan the flames of coal vegetation after Russia moved to restrict gasoline provides.

Ursula von der Leyen mentioned governments want to keep taken with “huge funding in renewables”.

“We need to make certain that we use this disaster to transport ahead and to not have a backsliding at the grimy fossil fuels,” she mentioned in an interview. “It’s a tremendous line and it’s now not made up our minds whether or not we’re going to take the correct flip.”

Nations are fascinated with additional cuts to gasoline provides, which EU leaders declare had been orchestrated by means of the Kremlin.

The approaching upward push in coal use, even supposing transient, has stoked considerations that Eu international locations may use the disaster to extend the transfer to less-polluting choices.

Rob Jetten, the Netherlands’ local weather and effort minister, on Monday mentioned the rustic would exchange regulations that require coal-fired stations to perform at a most of 35 in line with cent capability.

Germany and Austria introduced the emergency restart of mothballed coal vegetation on Sunday after Russia minimize capability at the Nord Movement 1 pipeline by means of 60 in line with cent ultimate week. The pipeline, which runs throughout the Baltic Sea to Germany, is without doubt one of the primary conduits for Russian gasoline to Europe. EU officers are involved Moscow may minimize provides additional ahead of wintry weather.

A gas-receiving station of Nord Stream 2 in Germany
A gas-receiving station of the halted Nord Movement 2 challenge in Lubmin, Germany © Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Russia has blamed the capability minimize on technical problems affecting the pipeline. Alternatively, it has declined to make up the shortfall via different pipeline routes.

Different EU international locations, together with Italy, are anticipated to apply Germany in restarting coal-fired energy stations. Member states are going through mounting financial pressures on account of the power shortfalls, with benchmark Eu gasoline costs up greater than 50 in line with cent up to now week. Gasoline is no less than six occasions dearer within the eurozone than it was once ahead of the pandemic.

Von der Leyen mentioned the EU has “emergency steps in position” to reply to the specter of falling provides from Russia, together with power financial savings measures and “prioritising” which industries obtain gasoline. She singled out for reward fresh German efforts to save lots of power, pronouncing it was once some of the EU’s best equipment.

The fee president cited figures appearing that Eu intake of gasoline had fallen 9 in line with cent within the first quarter, in comparison with the similar length ultimate yr. Business has been lowering gasoline use in part based on near-record costs. If customers grew to become thermostats down by means of 2C it will considerably cut back gasoline use, she added.

The EU desires to boost up plans to extend era from renewable resources whilst discovering tactics to diversify its gasoline provides, corresponding to bringing in seaborne cargoes of liquefied herbal gasoline (LNG) from different areas.

Von der Leyen mentioned the fee was once doing the entirety conceivable in order that the EU would in long term be capable to say “we made the correct possible choices”.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has added urgency to the EU’s plans to shift to renewables. Below the “REPowerEU” plan, the bloc goals to chop reliance on Russian power, diversify its resources of gasoline and extend wind and sun capability.

Von der Leyen highlighted a up to date commute to the japanese Mediterranean the place the EU hopes gasoline provides from the waters of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt might in the end supply further LNG for Europe.

She additionally mentioned manufacturers corresponding to Norway and Azerbaijan had been “stepping up” by means of expanding output to provide the EU choices to Russian gasoline provides, which made up up to 40 in line with cent of the bloc’s general ahead of the invasion of Ukraine.

REPowerEU would build up renewable power funding and streamline making plans laws in order that initiatives, together with wind farms, may well be constructed extra temporarily, she mentioned.

“We all know by means of now they’re now not best just right for our local weather, but additionally just right for our power safety and independence.”

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