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Actions for the EU energy transition following the Russian aggression

3 March 2022


Object: Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions and ambition for the EU’s energy transition Dear Ms von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Dear Mr Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Green Deal, Dear Ms Simson, Commissioner for Energy, Following the unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine by the Russian Federation on 24th of February, the European Union reacted in a united manner to condemn Russia’s illegal military actions. The Greens/EFA strongly condemn the Russian attack, standing firmly by Ukraine and we welcome the restrictive measures adopted by the Commission and Member States, although tougher sanctions may be needed. We also applaud a coordinated response to support Ukraine, especially in terms of humanitarian assistance as well as providing EU corridors and offering shelter to all people fleeing the country. An area impacted by the Russian aggression is the energy policy of the Union, highlighting the urgent need to end the dependence on Russian energy imports. In spite of numerous attempts to reduce EU energy dependency, the share of Russian gas in the EU gas consumption is still nearly 40% (1). Russia is also the main supplier of EU imports of crude oils and coal (2). Furthermore, several Member States have ongoing collaboration with Russia in the nuclear field, in particular with Rosatom and its subsidiaries, and the ITER project is partly financed by Russia. The European Commission already announced the need for a new strategy that makes Europe completely independent of Russian gas. This is urgently needed as Russia’s energy sector generates about 40% of its federal budget (3). The European Union cannot fund the Russian military aggression against Ukraine via its own energy imports. However, a new EU energy strategy cannot be based on more gas only, especially liquefied natural gas (LNG), as it seems to be the case for now. Diversified gas routes will only create new dependencies or further retain dependency on Russian LNG  (4). Russia is actually one of the main suppliers of LNG in Europe. ming modes for both passenger and freight transport including walking, cycling and use of e-bikes. Information and advice to households and companies in so-called one-stop-shops will help to unlock the renovation wave for example.

  • EU and national action plans for renewable self-consumption and creation of at least one renewable energy community per municipality by 2023: citizens have the right to produce, consume, store and resell their own renewable energy as individuals or communities. The potential for prosumers is still largely untapped by Member States: prosumers could meet 20% of the Union energy demand by 2030 according to conservative estimates (6). The Commission should push each Member State to finalise their national assessments of potential and barriers, and present an action plan with yearly milestones to boost renewables production and energy efficiency through self-consumption and renewable energy communities (REC), with a specific objective to create at least one REC per municipality by 2023.
  • Support the Member States to run spatial planning for renewable energy potential at local and regional levels: to fully exploit the domestic potential and optimise the use of local renewable energy sources, it is of utmost importance to map and plan at different levels and in a coordinated manner the potential for renewable deployments as close to citizens as possible. Member States need to be able to answer how many solar PV or heat pumps can be rolled out, by when and at which levels, how much energy demand can be sourced and covered locally, what is the potential of re-powering existing “old” renewable installations etc.  
    • A bold plan for deep renovations: We need fresh measures to invest in energy efficiency and it starts with buildings’ renovation. In the residential and services sectors, energy efficiency could massively reduce the reliance on gas as almost 75% of the building stock is energy inefficient. Some examples of measures that the European Commission should propose include:
      • Dedicated funding to install:
        • 100 million heat pumps in buildings across Europe by 2030; including at least 4 million by the end of 2022.
        • 70 million solar PVs by 2030, as complementary to the Renovation Wave, including at least 1,5 million solar rooftops by the end of 2022;
        •  2,2 GWth of solar thermal within one year, which would correspond to 100 million cubic meters of saved gas;
      • Create an obligation to:
        •  Ban oil and gas boilers in new and refurbished buildings and immediately stop financing installation of oil and gas boilers from the EU budget and the RRF;
        • Install solar thermal and PV installations in all new buildings and those undergoing major renovations in Member States;
        • Switch to and develop fully renewable-based district heating;
        •  Promote serial and deep building retrofits, including with on-bill schemes and consider the potential of pre-fabricated renovation modules;
      • Enlarge the scope of energy audits and make audit recommendations binding on companies;
      • Use the framework of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) and industrial alliances to scale up production of equipment for fast building renovations