EU could reconsider renewables targets to abandon Russian energy – Timmermans By Reuters

EU could reconsider renewables targets to abandon Russian energy – Timmermans By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, gestures during the meeting of the College of Commissioners in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, January 18, 2022. Julien Warnand / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

Author: Aidan Lewis

CAIRO (Reuters) – The European Union could set more ambitious targets for its transition to renewable energy as it seeks alternatives to oil and gas imports from Russia, EU High Representative for Climate Policy Frans Timmermans said on Sunday.

The 27 EU member states have agreed to jointly reduce their net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 to 2030 levels, a step towards “net zero” emissions by 2050.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the European Commission has also proposed that Europe reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and prepare plans to phase them out by 2027.

The commission is due to propose a “Repower EU” plan in May on how Russian fossil fuels could leave the bloc.

“What we will be doing in the next few weeks is working on what I call the Repower EU initiative, and as part of that we want to speed up the energy transition. So we can reconsider our goals in that context,” Timmermans told reporters during a visit to Cairo.

Such a revision would mean “a higher percentage of renewable energy for 2030,” Timmermans said, declining to give figures for possible new targets.

According to existing plans, the EU would increase the share of renewable energy to 40% of final consumption by 2030.

Egypt, which will host the COP27 climate conference in November and re-exports Israeli gas from a liquefied petroleum (LNG) terminal on its Mediterranean coast, could help the EU diversify its gas imports, Timmermans said.

“If we can get other LNG in the region – and we’ll see what quantities will be available from Israel – that could be a good approach,” he said.

“The core of what I offer is a long-term strategic relationship that starts with LNG and then quickly switches to renewable energy sources, especially hydrogen,” he added.

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