With investments of 300 billion euros, the EU wants to make itself independent of Russian oil and gas supplies in the long term and is primarily focusing on renewable energies. Corresponding plans were presented by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other members of her authority on Wednesday.
The so-called REPowerEU plan is primarily intended to accelerate the energy transition of the European Green Deal. To this end, more wind and solar parks than before are to be built in the coming years. Biogas is also to be used more, so that by 2030 around 45 percent of the energy consumed in the EU will come from renewable energies. Previously, the target was 40 percent.
In order to accelerate the expansion of renewables, it should be easier and faster for operators to get permits than before. In addition, the Commission wants to make solar roofs mandatory for new buildings in the future: on public and commercial buildings from 2026 and for new private buildings from 2029. Subsidies are intended to ensure that more solar panels are built in Europe again.
In addition, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for climate issues, wants to tighten the energy efficiency requirements for apartments and houses more than previously planned, buy more climate-friendly hydrogen abroad and expand the infrastructure for hydrogen and biogas.
However, the CDU MEP Markus Pieper criticized that the specifications for the production of climate-friendly hydrogen were too strict. “We have neither the time nor the money for gold-rimmed hydrogen. With that we go into the next dependency with our eyes wide open,” said the politician.
The money for these and other measures should come primarily from unused funds from the Corona recovery fund NextGenerationEU. The fund provides for transfers and loans for the member states, but the majority of national governments have so far not applied for loans, which affects between 220 and 225 billion euros.
Further billions are to come from the European emissions trading system ETS. The Commission wants to auction additional allowances from a reserve. The auction would not only bring income, but also ensure that the CO₂ price, which has risen sharply in recent months, will fall thanks to the larger supply of certificates. Climate protectors criticized the planned measure. “The package must not be financed by more CO₂ emissions and climate pollution,” warned Green MEP Michael Bloss.
By the end of the year, the EU intends to dispense with two-thirds of the gas it has previously purchased from Russia. According to a senior EU official, only one billion cubic meters of gas will flow from Russia to the EU instead of the current three billion cubic meters per month. By the end of the decade, Europe should be completely independent of energy supplies from Russia.
The plans are merely considerations by the Commission, which are likely to have been partially agreed with the Member States. Concrete laws will follow in the coming weeks. However, they still have to be negotiated with the EU countries and the European Parliament.
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