Brussels calculates that achieving energy independence from Russia will require an investment of 210,000 million over five years


The commission has proposed raising renewable targets to 45%, energy efficiency to 13%, more aggressive measures to control electricity prices in the short term, and urged contingency plans for cuts and rationing.

commission vice chairman
The Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermann, congratulates President Ursula von der Leyen.AFP
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Late last year, when Spain and some other partners were pressing for the EU to take “bold measures” against the price of electricity, the answer in Brussels was that it was not necessary, that the market would function well. suggests, that the shock was temporary and that prices will return to much more normal levels by early 2022. With war, this has not happened. Today, the Commission has presented RepowerEUHis latest battery of measures, advice, calculations and suggestions for coping with the energy crisis, accelerating the independence of Russian hydrocarbons and facilitating the energy transition.

And among them, what was unimaginable a few months ago: raise production targets for renewable energy, double efforts in energy efficiency, formulate more ambitious contingency plans for potential supply cuts, consider the possibility of rationing and, in the worst cases, Limit the price of gas and electricity generation at the system’s federal-wide level. Intervention is not an option, it is a reality, and only to what extent is debated.

In today’s stream of initiatives and documents that address demand, supply and production, there are new things and other reinventions, ideas that were already known and, for the most part, details that have already leaked out in recent weeks. have been raise up 45% renewable target and revising the Community Directives, the energy efficiency requirement to 13% before 2030. Or for example by making it mandatory to install solar panels on roofs of public buildings before 2025 and in newly constructed residential buildings after 2029.

There has been no change in the pricing system, nor has there been any change in the marginal model. I don’t expect it. The position remains the same, as a general rule, unlike price control, and in this position as well. This will be considered in the event that the market will explode, that is, if Russia closes the tap. But even under the current circumstances, the Commission, with the support of most states, maintains that removing price signals will jeopardize supply.

Independence from Russia is complicated. Its already 27. level has been approved coal ban, which will become fully effective in August. There are talks on oil, but there are countries that need more than this thought six or nine months, So the ban package is stuck. But nothing about gas, because it is impossible in the short term. Last year, 40% of the gas used in the Union came from Russia, and by April this had dropped to 26%. But now it is becoming more and more complicated, so the aim is to minimize exports, but assuming that it will be possible to go all the way to the end of this decade. And that at a great expense. “The Commission’s analysis indicates that there will be an additional investment of REPowerEU Now and 2027. between 210,000 million eurosIn addition to what is needed to achieve the objectives of Fit for 55’s proposals, the paper says in reference to the legislature’s noble initiative, which seeks to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030.

Brussels says this investment will bear fruit. “Fit to the 55 framework and the implementation of the REPowerEU plan will save the EU €80 billion in gas import costs, €12 billion in oil and €1.7 billion in coal import costs, each year, by 2030”, they say. . The commission proposes to use the resources available from the Next Generation Programme, which is community funding, to recover from the pandemic. And in particular, the billions that are available as loans, as most countries, including Spain, have to date only requested money that comes in the form of transfers (which do not count loans and losses) but credits. No.

control prices

Behind the question of supply and supply is the problem of prices. The second volume of initiatives published by the Commission focuses on additional measures to the so-called ‘toolbox’ that were approved in recent months. Brussels believes that it is necessary to go further, without destroying the market, but without using all the shortcomings.

Thus, he points out that gas markets have the potential for member states to “temporarily extend the regulation of prices for the final consumer to a wider range of customers, including households and industry.” For gas, it states that ‘temporary circuit breakers’ and emergency liquidity measures may be implemented to support the effective functioning of commodity markets, “while fully respecting state aid provisions”. Use the draft platform for centralized and voluntary purchases in markets “to meet gas demand, ensure competitive gas prices through voluntary joint purchases and reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels” ”

Other intervention options in the electricity markets are “to reallocate exceptionally high baseline revenue (so-called windfall profits) to support consumers. Opens the door for expansion.” and reiterates what is seen in the Iberian Peninsula, CAP mechanisms “provided they are designed in a way that is compatible with EU treaties, in particular the absence of regulations on cross-border exports, regional legislation and state aid”. in relation” .

In cases of absolute emergency, and that means a total cut of Russian gas and a real disruption of the market, the commission puts black on white, as this paper reported last week, the most aggressive option. The first step is to update and outline National Contingency Plans. “Preventive voluntary reduction measures should be devised, should an emergency arise. In a spirit of solidarity, the least affected Member States shall be for the benefit of the most affected Member States.” You can reduce your gas demand”. But that won’t be enough. Efficiency and consumption reduction actions help a lot, but they are not enough. “With these measures, an administrative cap on the gas price at EU level may be necessary in response to a total blockage of supply,” the document acknowledges. “If introduced, this cap should be limited to the duration of the EU emergency and should not compromise the EU’s ability to attract alternative sources of gas and LNG supply by pipeline and reduce demand, ‘ he says without going into more details. It is the option of last resort, the most difficult and one that goes in the opposite direction of defense. So they don’t want to impress today, but can’t avoid thinking about tomorrow.

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