With current deployment trends, wind and solar PV expansion in the European Union has the potential to reduce the dependence on Russian gas use in electricity significantly, Trend reports with reference to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Russia supplies around 45 percent of the European Union's gas imports for industry, homes and electricity generation. For electricity generation, natural gas accounts for around 16 percent of the group's total power demand.
"Over the last decade, natural gas-fuelled electricity generation annually ranged from 340 TWh to 600 TWh, depending on the price environment, wind and solar PV penetration, and winter demand. Considering country-level supply dependencies, we estimate that between 100 TWh to 200 TWh of European Union natural gas-based electricity is provided by Russia. On the other hand, our forecasts indicate incremental growth of renewable electricity generation up to 180 TWh from 2021-2023, almost equal to the highest value of Russia dependent gas-fired generation. With current deployment trends, wind and solar PV expansion in the European Union has the potential to reduce the dependence on Russian gas use in electricity significantly," IEA says in its latest report.
However, the IEA experts note that the contribution of variable renewables will also depend on policies on energy efficiency measures keeping demand in check and the phase-out or phasedown policies for coal and nuclear energy in several member states.
"European Union countries have varying levels of dependency on Russia for their natural gas supply. Among member states, Germany and Italy have the highest dependency on Russia in terms of absolute electricity generation. However, the potential for renewables to reduce dependency in Germany is significantly higher than in Italy based on our wind and solar expectations by 2023 - unless new and stronger policies are introduced and the pace of implementation picks up. France and the Netherlands' dependency on Russia gas is relatively low, enabling a higher potential for renewables to displace natural gas. Conversely, in Austria, Hungary and Greece renewables expansion remains limited to reduce the countries' dependency on Russia," says the report.