EU rushes out $300 billion roadmap to ditch Russian energy

May 17, 2022, 4:34 PM | Updated: May 18, 2022, 5:13 pm
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces a joint statement with Japanese Prime ...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces a joint statement with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and European Council President Charles Michel at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)

(Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool Photo via AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive arm moved Wednesday to jump-start plans for the 27-nation bloc to abandon Russian energy amid the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, proposing a nearly 300 billion-euro ($315 billion) package that includes more efficient use of fuels and faster rollout of renewable power.

The European Commission’s investment initiative is meant to help the 27 EU countries start weaning themselves off Russian fossil fuels this year. The goal is to deprive Russia, the EU’s main supplier of oil, natural gas and coal, of tens of billions in revenue and strengthen EU climate policies.

“We are taking our ambition to yet another level to make sure that we become independent from Russian fossil fuels as quickly as possible,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in Brussels when announcing the package, dubbed REPowerEU.

With no end in sight to Russia’s war in Ukraine and European energy security shaken, the EU is rushing to align its geopolitical and climate interests for the coming decades. It comes amid troubling signs that have raised concerns about energy supplies that the EU relies on and have no quick replacements for, including Russia cutting off member nations Poland and Bulgaria after they refused a demand to pay for natural gas in rubles.

The bloc’s dash to ditch Russian energy stems from a combination of voluntary and mandatory actions. Both reflect the political discomfort of helping fund Russia’s military campaign in a country that neighbors the EU and wants to join the bloc.

An EU ban on coal from Russia is due to start in August, and the bloc has pledged to try to reduce demand for Russian gas by two-thirds by year’s end. Meanwhile, a proposed EU oil embargo has hit a roadblock from Hungary and other landlocked countries that worry about the cost of switching to alternative sources.

In a bid to swing Hungary behind the oil phaseout, the REPowerEU package expects oil investment funding of around 2 billion euros for member nations highly dependent on Russian oil.

Energy savings and renewables form the cornerstones of the package, which would be funded mainly by an economic stimulus program put in place to help member countries overcome the slump triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Commission said the price tag for abandoning Russian fossil fuels completely by a 2027 target date is 210 billion euros. Its package includes 56 billion euros for energy efficiency and 86 billion euros for renewables.

Von der Leyen cited a total funding pot of 72 billion euros in grants and 225 billion euros for loans.

The European Commission also proposed ways to streamline the approval processes in EU countries for renewable projects, which can take up to a decade to get through red tape. The commission said approval times need to fall to as little as a year or less.

It put forward a specific plan on solar energy, seeking to double photovoltaic capacity by 2025 and pushing for a phased-in obligation to install solar panels on new buildings.

Simone Tagliapietra, an energy expert at the Bruegel think tank in Brussels, called REPowerEU a “jumbo package” whose success will ultimately depend on political will in the bloc’s national capitals.

“Most of the actions entailed in the plan require either national implementation or strong coordination among member states,” Tagliapietra said. “The extent to which countries really engage is going to be defining.”

The German energy think tank Agora Energiewende said the EU’s plan “gives too little attention to concrete initiatives that reduce fossil fuel demand in the short term and thereby misses the opportunity to simultaneously enhance Europe’s energy security and meet Europe’s climate objectives.”

The group’s research shows rapidly expanding solar, wind parks and use of heat pumps for low-temperature heat in industry and buildings could be done faster than constructing new liquefied natural gas terminals or gas infrastructure, said Matthias Buck, its director for Europe.

The European Commission’s recommendations on short-term national actions to cut demand for Russian energy coincide with deliberations underway in the bloc since last year on setting more ambitious EU energy-efficiency and renewable targets for 2030.

Those targets, being negotiated by the European Parliament and national governments, are part of the bloc’s commitments to a 55% cut in greenhouse gases by decade’s end, compared with 1990 emissions, and to climate neutrality by 2050.

Von der Leyen urged the European Parliament and national governments to deepen the commission’s July proposal for an energy efficiency target of 9% and renewable energy goal of 40% by 2030. She said those objectives should be 13% and 45%, respectively.

Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark plan to build North Sea wind farms to help cut carbon emissions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Dutch farmers block entrances to supermarket warehouses

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch farmers angry at government plans to slash emissions used tractors and trucks Monday to blockade supermarket distribution centers, the latest actions in a summer of discontent in the country’s lucrative agricultural sector. The Netherlands’ busiest aviation hub, Schiphol Airport, urged travelers to use public transport to get to its […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Iran TV: Sandstorm shuts offices, schools in Tehran, region

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Schools and government offices closed in Iran’s capital and several other cities in the country on Monday, after yet another sandstorm blanketed Tehran and the surrounding region. State-run TV warned of poor air quality and advised the elderly, those sick and children to take precautions. Banks and the Tehran Stock Exchange […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Canadian government: Tycoon in China due to stand trial

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese-born Canadian tycoon is being put on trial in China, Canada’s government said Monday, five years after he vanished from Hong Kong during an anti-corruption crackdown. Xiao Jianhua was due to stand trial Monday, a government statement said. It said Canadian diplomats were “monitoring this case closely” and provided unspecified services […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Data puts Turkey’s annual inflation at 78.6%, a 24-year high

ISTANBUL (AP) — Annual inflation in Turkey hit 78.62% in June, the highest rate since 1998, according to official data released Monday. The Turkish Statistical Institute, or TurkStat, released the monthly figures as Turkey is experiencing a deepening cost-of-living crisis. Consumer prices rose by 4.95% on a monthly basis, the institute reported. While many countries […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Russia tries to press its offensive into Ukraine’s east

POKROVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces tried Monday to press their offensive deeper into eastern Ukraine after taking control of a key stronghold. The Ukrainian military confirmed that its forces had withdrawn from the city of Lysychansk, the last bulwark of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk province, one of the two regions that make up […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Outages disrupt services at Japan’s No. 2 telecoms carrier

TOKYO (AP) — Many users of Japan’s No. 2 mobile carrier KDDI Corp. were still having trouble making calls Monday after a massive outage throughout the weekend that affected nearly 40 million people, disrupting deliveries, weather reports and other services across the country. The company said data transmission had largely been restored by Monday morning, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
EU rushes out $300 billion roadmap to ditch Russian energy