- New natural-gas deals and political commitments struck by European countries with various suppliers around the world since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amount to new supply coming online of 24 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2022, 10 bcm in 2023 and 62 bcm in the next few years. If national plans to increase domestic production are included, an additional 1 bcm in 2022, 2.8 bcm from 2023 and 2 bcm from 2024 can be estimated.
- New gas infrastructure investment has led to new capacity coming online of 20 bcm/year in 2022 (10 bcm from new LNG capacity and 10 bcm from the Baltic Pipe between Norway and Poland) and approximately 51 bcm in 2023 (including 44 bcm from FSRUs). Approximately 17 bcm/year is then expected to come online in 2024, 34 bcm/year in 2025, 35 bcm/year in 2026, 13 bcm/year in 2027 and 6 bcm/year in 2028. Countries are also gas interconnectors, with almost 16 bcm/year of new cross-country capacity coming online in 2022 and 5 bcm/year from 2025.
- Coal use in EU electricity generation increased year-on-year (YoY) to more than 37 TWh in the first nine months of 2022. However, little to no gas-to-coal switching took place, partly because of increased gas demand following reduced hydropower energy production in Italy and Spain (-24 TWh YoY) and low nuclear power production in France (-59 TWh YoY).
- The postponement of the closure of two nuclear reactors in Belgium (Tihange 3 and Doel 4) and two in Germany (Neckarwestheim 2 and Isar 2) could lead to potential gas savings of 5.71 bcm/year.
- On 26 July 2022, EU countries agreed on a voluntary natural gas demand reduction of 15% between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023, compared to average consumption in the previous five years. Exemptions from the target include Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Derogations for other countries are likely to follow after assessments by the European Commission. On 30 September 2022, EU countries agreed to an electricity demand-reduction target of -10% overall (voluntary) and -5% during peak hours (mandatory).
- With REPowerEU, the European Commission proposed to increase by 13% the energy savings target for 2030. This requires EU countries to accelerate their implementation of measures that likely started already in line with post-pandemic national recovery plans. REPowerEU’s goal is to replace 21 bcm/year of gas by wind and solar energy. EU countries have accelerated the roll-out of renewables, in particular by setting up investment schemes in renewable energy projects, storage and renewable heat (including heat pumps), by easing rules related to renewables deployment and by simplifying tender procedures to speed up often long permitting processes.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a quick and profound reorientation of energy policy in Europe. The aim is to decouple Europe from Russian fossil fuels, while accelerating the green transition. Russia cut about 80% of its gas supplies to Europe during spring and summer 2022, making the reorientation increasingly urgent. The European Union has sought to define the direction and speed of this restructuring of energy policy reshape through the REPowerEU strategy. However, crucial energy policy decisions have been taken by EU countries at national level.
Consistent with REPowerEU, these national decisions can be classified as either short term or longer term.
Short-term policies include unprecedented measures to diversify gas supply. Several European countries have new gas deals with alternative suppliers of both liquified natural gas (LNG) and pipeline gas, and have started on the construction of new gas infrastructure, including LNG plants and floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs). Short-term policies have also included policies to foster gas-to-coal switching in power generation, postponement of nuclear power plant closures and gas consumption reduction measures.
Longer-term policies have mainly focused on accelerating the green transition, which is seen as a structural response to fix Europe’s over-dependency on fossil-fuel imports. A wide range of longer-term energy policy measures have been announced, from the fast-tracking of renewable energy projects to accelerated roll-out of clean-tech solutions including heat pumps and electric mobility.
This dataset organises energy policy measures taken by European governments (EU and the UK) into four main categories: (1) gas supply diversification; (2) short-term alternative energy sources; (3) energy savings and energy efficiency; and (4) accelerating the roll-out of renewable energies and clean-tech solutions. This dataset will be updated regularly.