Russian gas out, renewables in? Europe clings to green goals

(Context, 21 Feb 2023) Despite a hunt for new gas and cash shortages, the European Union has stuck to its clean energy goals, analysts say.

After Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, European nations faced an onslaught of crippling new challenges - including working out how to swiftly replace the Russian gas that supplied 40% of their energy needs and kept families warm in the winter.

A year later, use of dirtier fossil fuels such as coal has expanded to help fill the gap, governments have spent billions subsidising heating bills as gas companies reap record profits, and countries are competing to build terminals to import gas from new suppliers, from the United States to Qatar and Nigeria.

But Europe also quietly produced more electricity from renewable sources than from gas last year, for the first time, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Union (EU) Green New Deal - aimed at making the bloc carbon-neutral by 2050 - has held together through the Ukraine shock, while fresh plans to slash dependency on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, using renewables and energy efficiency, are advancing.

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Context, 21 Feb 2023: Russian gas out, renewables in? Europe clings to green goals