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The European Commission has announced its commitment to attaining sustainable and renewable energy from 2022 to 2027. The document detailing the Commission’s steps was published on Wednesday.
The REPowerEU plan emphasizes Europe’s “clean energy transition.” The file gives light on energy savings and its importance and the creation of more local energy sources. However, according to the Commission, while the ‘transition’ is ongoing, the country might have to use its existing coal facilities to cover up for the increasing demands of consumers. There is no definite date as to when coal power plants will be stopped, only that the EU said they will be utilizing them “longer than initially expected.”
With over 210 billion euros of budget ($220.87 billion), the plan laid out by the Commission is set to start this year and is bound to be completed by 2027. Currently, the current target of the EU’s renewable share of energy is 40%, but the country aims for another 5%, a total of 45%, by 2030.
On the same day, the governments of Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands also expressed their intention to find renewable energy sources. The countries aim for a combined target of 65 gigawatts from offshore winds by 2030. By 2050, the countries would have reached 150GW of offshore capacity.
Challenges to transition
Russia remains the largest supplier of oil in the EU, according to Eurostat. However, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the oil supply has been cut – this means that the EU would have to find oil and gas supplies from other parts of the world to meet demands. According to the Commission, it would need 1.5 to 2 billion euros to secure the oil supply they need.
The Commission further said that “…shifting away from Russian fossil fuels will also require targeted investments for the security of supply in gas infrastructure and very limited changes to oil infrastructure alongside large-scale investments in the electricity grid and an EU-wide hydrogen backbone.”
“In parallel, some of the existing coal capacities might also be used longer than initially expected, with a role for nuclear power and domestic gas resources too.”European Commission
Frans Timmermans, climate chief of the Commission, admitted that coal might have to be used ‘a bit longer,’ while citing it could harm emissions. However, if the introduction of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and biomethane, among others, are ramped up, the movement would be the opposite, explained Timmermans.
“If we can actually do what I say — reduce our energy consumption in combination with a speedier introduction of renewables — we will bring down our emissions even quicker than before,” he added. “Coal has a substantial effect on the environment, with Greenpeace describing it as “the dirtiest, most polluting way of producing energy.”
However, the EU said they had no other option considering that there are increasing demands and the supply chain management has been affected.
The current plans of the Commission garnered criticisms from environmental activists.
Eilidh Robb of the Friends of the Earth Europe said, “These plans are supposed to fast-track the clean energy transition — but the European Commission’s latest strategy gives with one hand and takes with the other.”
“So-called REPowerEU contains useful and necessary strides towards renewable solutions, but it simultaneously enables almost 50 fossil fuel infrastructure projects and expansions,” he added.
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