BRUSSELS (Realist English). The European Union announced on March 8 its intention to reduce purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022, CNBC reports.
The Brussels plan is called REPowerEU. Here are some of its points:
— The EU has enough gas in storage — storage filling is just under 30% — for the winter heating season, the EC said, “even in case of full disruption of supplies from Russia.” But the EU must refill gas storage tanks before the next winter heating season. The EU will make a legislative proposal by April to set a target of filling 90% of gas storage tanks by Oct. 1 each year. Until official legislation is passed, the EU “urges” member states to begin preparing to have their gas storage tanks filled for the next winter heating season.
— The EU has already been speaking with countries besides Russia to obtain gas through pipelines or by liquid natural gas, including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Turkey and the U.S. Those conversations have allowed the EU to import a record amount of liquid natural gas in January and February. The European Commission said those developing relationships will allow for another 50 billion cubic meters each year.
— Brussels also plans to produce 35 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2030, which is twice the previously stated goals. For this, the EU will use agricultural waste.
— Creating a Hydrogen Accelerator to develop necessary infrastructure, storage and port capabilities. The goal here is for the EU to replace 25 to 50 billion cubic meters per year of imported Russian gas by 2030 with renewable hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced with an electrolyzer powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar.
— Aggressively investing in improving energy efficiency in homes, buildings and industries, which it estimates can save 25 billion cubic meters each year.
— Accelerating the rollout of renewables, both wind and solar, and heat pumps. For solar, the EU should accelerating the rollout of rooftop solar systems up to 15 terawatt-hours this year, which would save 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas. The European Commission promised a more full communication on the EU’s solar strategy in June. The EU also proposes rolling out 10 million heat pumps in the next five years.