The EU can stop the import of Russian gas

(14 Mar 2022) The European Commission’s plan to reduce the EU’s energy dependence on Russia is an important step in the right direction, but it’s not ambitious enough and should also consider an import ban, writes Kirsten Dunlop.

Kirsten Dunlop is CEO of EIT Climate-KIC, an EU-funded Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon society. Other signatories are listed at the bottom of this article.

Roughly half of the Russian budget comes from the export of fossil fuels. In addition, Russia, together with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, accounts for more than half of the world’s uranium mining, and all nuclear reactors that have begun construction outside China after 2019 have a Russian supplier. Needless to say, Vladimir Putin’s regime is heavily dependent on energy exports to finance the government and sustain its military operations.

At the same time, four-fifths of all new electricity production capacity put into operation in 2020 was based on renewable energy and this rapid expansion is a major threat to the Russian economy. The Russian fossil fuel economy will be weakened even more by the fact that batteries have also become cheaper, meaning that electric cars are replacing internal combustion engines to a rapidly increasing degree. Batteries can also store electrical energy that can be used instead of gas turbines to meet peaks in consumption.

When cheap renewable electricity is also used to produce hydrogen and other fuels when there is plenty of wind or sun – and thereby balancing the electricity system – additional oil and gas can be replaced. These opportunities are given high priority within the EU and in various industrial strategies. In Sweden, we see green ventures such as Hybrit and H2 Green Steel replacing coal with hydrogen. We also see a rapid expansion of wind turbines – now without subsidies – a rapidly growing battery industry, plans to produce both aviation and shipping fuels with fossil-free electricity and CO2 from biofuel-fired CHP plants.

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, 14 Mar 2022: The EU can stop the import of Russian gas