May 16 -- The European Union’s current plan for eliminating its reliance on Russian gas by replacing it with gas from other sources could cost the bloc up to $214 billion more than originally planned, climate think-tank and organizations Ember and Global Witness said in a report on Wednesday, calling for faster renewables rollout.
The European Commission’s REPowerEU plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030 includes diversification of gas supplies, speeding up the roll-out of renewable gases, increasing electricity generation from renewables, and replacing gas in heating and power generation. This can reduce EU demand for Russian gas by two-thirds before the end of the year, the Commission says.
According to Ember and Global Witness, the EU’s current plans for gas use could see an additional $264 billion (250 billion euros) added to the EU’s energy bill in 2030 due to high gas prices. The REPowerEU plan will only cut the bill by $49 billion (47 billion euro), which would still be an increase of $214 billion (203 billion euro) above the Commission’s original forecasts, the organizations said.
“And, whilst the European Commission’s REPowerEU strategy aims to reduce the continent’s imports of Russian gas, it still relies so heavily on gas that Europe would be exposed to a €34 billion bill rise at forecast 2030 prices, or €203 billion at today’s gas prices,” Ember and Global Witness said in a statement.
“Gambling on fossil gas is a losing bet. High and volatile gas prices are here to stay and will cost the EU dearly. The money is better spent on a transition that can bring stable, clean and affordable energy to all Europeans,” said Sarah Brown, a Senior Analyst with Ember.Related: Oil Prices Slip As Crude Inventories Jump
Tara Connolly, Senior Gas Campaigner at Global Witness, said:
“Decades of over-reliance on fossil gas has made Europe incredibly vulnerable to volatile prices whilst empowering Putin.Our analysis now shows the Commission has massively underestimated the cost to consumers of continuing to rely on gas.”
The European Commission is expected to unveil the details of the REPowerEU plan next week, in which renewables are also expected to feature. The EC is expected to propose faster permitting for renewable energy projects as part of its plan to increase the uptake of renewable energy to cut reliance on Russian energy and speed up the energy transition.