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


Solar panels and wind turbines in Normandy’s Seine-Maritime district on Monday January 24, 2022. Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Europe’s dependence on natural gas from RussiaThis has allowed Vladimir Putin to have leverage over the European Union and made it difficult for the European Union to impose sanctions on Russia as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

It will be difficult to turn off Russian natural gas’s spigot quickly. It’s because both the EU and Russia are so dependent upon it. Also, the EU has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2021 the EU imported almost half of its gas imports from Russia (45%), and nearly 40% of all the gas that it consumed. Although technically feasible, switching from natural gas burning to coal burning is not going to make the EU more climate-friendly.

International Energy Agency, an international energy agency with over 2,000 members. 31 national governmentsIt believes there is a better way.

This organization released recently a plan to help Europe reduce dependence on Russian natural gases by one third in one year, while adhering to its existing policies. the European Green DealAn EU Agreement to Reduce Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions by At least 55% by 2030 from 1990 Levels

The IEA’s drawdown, aptly named “A 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas,” is a collection of actions that will diversify Europe’s energy supply, accelerate its move towards renewables and focus on energy efficiency.

“Nobody should be under any illusions.” “Nobody is under any illusions anymore. Russia’s economic and political use of natural gas resources in Russia shows Europe that Europe must act fast to avoid significant uncertainty about Russian gas supplies next winter,” Fatih Birol, Executive Director at IEA said. written statement announcing the plan.

Below is a list of all ten suggestions:

Retire from gas supply agreements with Russia The European Union is currently in a contract agreement with Gazprom (a Russian state-owned multinational energy corporation) for 15 billion cubic meters per year. This contract will expire in 2022. That and other EU gas import contracts should expire.

Replacing Russian natural gas that has expired with other natural gas agreements from other countries is possible. The domestic production and imports of natural gas from non-Russian countries, such as Azerbaijan or Norway, will increase by up to 10 billion cubic metres in the next year compared with 2021. This should help. However, the IEA recommends that EU increase its imports. liquid natural gas (LNG), which is natural gas that has been cooled to a liquid state at about -260° Fahrenheit so it can more easily be transported in ships or trucks.

The IEA recommended that the EU boost its supply of biogas and biomethane, however these supply chains are slow to grow. The same is true for supply chains of low carbon “green” hydrogen produced by electrolysis.

Stock up on gas. The storage of gas provides a buffer for security, whether it is in case of extreme events, changing seasons or war. To keep winter homes warm, the IEA will have a 90% working storage capacity by October 1.

Accelerate the use of renewables such as wind and solar. Due to increased use of solar and wind equipment and better weather, EU expects to experience a 15% increase in renewable power generation by 2022. The IEA suggests that renewable projects are accelerated by addressing permitting delays. It would be necessary to increase administrative staff, communicate clearly between different permitting offices, set clear deadlines, and make applications digital.

Maintain existing nuclear power and continue to operate large-scale bioenergy plants. In 2021, some of Europe’s nuclear reactors were removed from service. But, when these power plants come back online in 2022 that will boost the EU’s clean energy production. After being built, nuclear power stations can produce energy and emit no greenhouse gases. The commercial production of nuclear energy will begin in Finland at the new nuclear reactor, expected to be operational by 2022. This support for EU energy goals.

A few nuclear power reactors will be shut down in 2022 or 2023. However, if they remain operational the EU would have a lower demand for Russian natural gases.

Bioenergy power plants that operate at 50% should also be fully fueled and used to their full potential.

Protect vulnerable customers. Energy companies are able to make a profit when energy prices rise, while customers may struggle. EU members should offer support to low-income customers who have high bills. Temporary taxes could be imposed on the excessive profits of energy companies to help pay low-income customers’ energy bills. This would account for current high energy prices.

Get heat pumps installed faster to replace gas boilers. The IEA urges the EU to speed up its replacement of gas furnaces by heat pumps in houses.

The EU would spend $16.3 billion (15 million euros) to double the heat pump installation rate in its homes. It would also save 2 billion cubic meters gas over the course of the first year. According to the IEA, it is ideal for homes to have energy efficiency projects.

Accelerate energy efficiency improvements in buildings and industrial plants About 1% of EU buildings have been retrofitted each year to make them more efficient. Although improving the efficiency of buildings is possible, it can be slow. The EU must focus its efforts on increasing the efficiency of non-residential and low energy homes in order to maximize their impact.

Smart thermostats could be installed more quickly by the IEA to lower energy demand. For example, subsidies could help households install smart thermostats faster.

Ask people to lower their heat. The average temperature of buildings in Europe is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Asking consumers to lower their thermostats by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or 1 degree Celsius could reduce gas demand by up to 10 billion cubic metres.

Ensure grid reliability with low emissions. The IEA suggests that the EU increase flexibility in the power grid in order to be resilient to seasonal shifts as well as to manage short-term spikes in demand. At the moment, EU uses stored natural gas to manage the fluctuations and flow of energy grid demand.

The future grid’s reliability and flexibility will require a variety of options, which include both battery technology and longer-term, larger-scale, energy storage technologies. While some low-carbon gasses made in the EU, such as synthetic methane and low-carbon hydrogen, can help improve grid reliability, they will not be enough.

The IEA’s plans are not as good as the latest news from another plan. reportedlyOn Tuesday, the EU announced that it would reduce Russian natural gas imports by 80% over the next year.