The European Commission proposed Wednesday to increase the share of coal and nuclear power plants in the energy mix as part of the REPower EU package, which aims to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels by two-thirds this year to eliminate imports from Moscow by the end of the decade.
"Today, we are taking our ambition to another level to ensure that we become independent of Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible," said the President of the EU executive, Ursula von der Leyen, during the detailed presentation of the European plan.
Thus, the plan presented by the Community Executive proposes to reduce the participation of gas combined cycle power plants in the energy mix, replacing it with energy produced from coal, which would increase its participation to 100 terawatt hours (tWh), 5% more than at present, and by nuclear energy, up to 44 tWh.
According to EU sources, this would be a temporary measure that is not expected to last more than 15 years, although it deviates from the line previously set to reduce the share of coal-fired power plants in the energy mix in order to achieve the goal of making the EU carbon neutral by 2050.
Brussels has pointed out that to implement the REPower EU plan, the European Union will need 210 billion euros of additional investment until 2027 in order to increase the share of renewables, diversify the energy supply of suppliers in the short term and promote energy efficiency to cut energy dependence on Russia.
The plan presented by the EU executive proposes to increase the contribution of renewable energies in the energy mix, so as to increase their share from the 40% currently set for 2030 to 45%, which translates into 1,236 GW of clean energy by 2030 compared to the 1,067 initially proposed in the Fit for 55 package.
"REPower EU will help us save more energy, accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels and launch investments on a new scale," said Von der Leyen, who added that it will accelerate the transition to clean energy.
In the long term, the EU executive aims for solar and wind energy to produce 66% of the system's electricity by 2050, doubling the rate from the current 33%. Within this framework, the aim is for wind to account for 31% of the EU's energy production capacity and the bulk, 35%, to come from solar energy.
Of the necessary financing, between 1.5 and 2 billion euros will be used to build oil pipelines in the EU countries most dependent on Russian crude oil, according to EU sources, and another 10 billion euros will be used for gas and liquefied natural gas infrastructures.
The bulk will go to boosting the penetration of renewable energies, up to 113 billion euros, of which 27 billion euros will be invested in hydrogen infrastructures. Another 29 billion euros will be invested in improving electricity distribution networks, 56 billion euros in energy efficiency systems, 41 billion euros in boosting the adaptation of industry to reduce fossil fuel consumption, and 37 billion euros in boosting biomethane production by the end of the decade.
Within this framework, Brussels will present an instrument for joint gas purchases at Community level, which follows the model applied to the joint purchase of vaccines during the COVID, and to which it has opened the door to the participation of non-EU countries such as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
The aim of this joint purchasing platform is to improve the EU's bargaining power with suppliers and to avoid direct competition between Member States, although Community sources have explained that it is a tool that does not guarantee a reduction in gas prices in the electricity market.
The president of the Community Executive detailed in a press conference that the plan will mobilize 300,000 million euros of investment, of which 75,000 will be in the form of subsidies and 225,000 through loans.
The EU executive has opened the door for the financing required for the Repower EU plan to be channeled through the Recovery and Resilience Plan, drawing on loans not yet used under this plan and estimated at 225,000 million euros. In addition, the plan will have additional funding in the form of grants from the Emissions Trading auction, amounting to EUR 20 billion.