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

The European Commission president has warned EU member states to not back off on their long-term pressure to chop fossil gasoline use, as Germany, Austria and the Netherlands stated they’d fan the flames of coal vegetation after Russia moved to restrict fuel provides.

Ursula von der Leyen stated governments want to keep concerned with “massive investment in renewables”.

“We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels,” she stated in an interview. “It’s a fine line and it’s not determined whether we are going to take the right turn.”

Countries are inquisitive about additional cuts to fuel provides, which EU leaders declare were orchestrated via the Kremlin.

The drawing close upward push in coal use, even though transient, has stoked issues that European international locations may just use the disaster to extend the transfer to much less polluting choices.

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

Germany and Austria introduced the emergency restart of mothballed coal vegetation on Sunday after Russia reduce capability at the Nord Stream 1 pipeline via 60 in keeping with cent final week. The pipeline, which runs throughout the Baltic Sea to Germany, is likely one of the major conduits for Russian fuel to Europe. EU officers are involved Russia may just reduce provides additional sooner than iciness.

Russia has blamed the capability reduce on technical problems affecting the pipeline. However, it has declined to make up the shortfall thru different pipeline routes.

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

Other EU international locations, together with Italy, are anticipated to practice Germany in restarting coal-fired energy stations. Member states are going through mounting financial pressures on account of the power shortfalls, with benchmark European fuel costs up via greater than 50 in keeping with cent prior to now week. Gas is a minimum of six occasions dearer within the eurozone than it was once sooner than the pandemic.

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

The fee president cited figures appearing that European intake of fuel had already fallen via 9 in keeping with cent within the first quarter, when compared with the similar duration final yr. Industry has been lowering fuel use in part in line with near-record costs. If shoppers grew to become thermostats down via 2C it might considerably cut back fuel use, she added.

The EU needs to boost up plans to extend technology from renewable resources whilst discovering techniques to diversify its fuel provides, equivalent to bringing in seaborne cargoes of liquefied herbal fuel (LNG) from different areas.

Von der Leyen stated the fee was once doing the whole lot conceivable in order that the EU would in long run be capable to say “we made the right choices”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added urgency to the EU’s plans to shift to renewables. Under the “REPowerEU” plan, the bloc targets to chop reliance on Russian power, diversify its resources of fuel and increase wind and sun capability.

Von der Leyen highlighted a contemporary travel to the Eastern Mediterranean the place the EU hopes fuel provides from the waters of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt would possibly ultimately supply further LNG for Europe.

She additionally stated manufacturers equivalent to Norway and Azerbaijan have been “stepping up” via expanding output to present the EU choices to Russian fuel provides, which made up up to 40 in keeping with cent of the EU general sooner than the invasion of Ukraine.

REPowerEU would building up renewable power funding and streamline making plans rules in order that tasks, together with wind farms, may well be constructed extra temporarily, she stated.

“We know by now they’re not only good for our climate, but also good for our energy security and independence.”

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