Opinion & Analysis

National energy policy responses to the energy crisis

Key takeaways

  • 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.

About the authors

Giovanni Sgaravatti

Giovanni works at Bruegel as a Research analyst. He studied Economics (BSc) at University of Venice – Ca’ Foscari – including one semester at the University of Melbourne, and holds a Master’s degree in Quantitative Economics obtained in Venice – having done the whole second year at the Economics School of Louvain.

Before joining Bruegel Giovanni worked in the Productivity branch of the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom. As a trainee he worked at the Delegation of the European Union to Chile and at BusinessEurope. His fields of analysis span from productivity to energy and climate change.

Giovanni is an Italian native speaker, is fluent in English and has good working knowledge of French and Spanish.

Simone Tagliapietra

Simone Tagliapietra is a Senior fellow at Bruegel. He is also Adjunct professor of Energy, Climate and Environmental Policy at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and at The Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Europe.

His research focuses on the European Union climate and energy policy and on the political economy of global decarbonisation. With a record of numerous policy and scientific publications, he is the author of Global Energy Fundamentals (Cambridge University Press, 2020), L’Energia del Mondo (Il Mulino, 2020) and Energy Relations in the Euro-Mediterranean (Palgrave, 2017).

His columns and policy work are published and cited in leading international media such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Die Zeit, Corriere della Sera, Il Sole 24 Ore and others.

Simone holds a PhD in Institutions and Policies from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Born in the Dolomites in 1988, he speaks Italian, English and French.

Cecilia Trasi

Cecilia works at Bruegel as a Research Assistant. She completed a BSc in Economics at Università Cattolica in Milan, and then a Master’s in Public Policy at the Hertie School in Berlin.Before joining Bruegel, Cecilia pursued a Blue Book traineeship at the European Commission in DG INTPA focusing on renewable energy and green hydrogen and cooperation with countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. During her studies, Cecilia worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on private sector development and trade in the Eastern Partnership. Also, she was a research assistant at the Hertie School, investigating the effect of the rise of China on European governance in the areas of trade and finance.

Cecilia is fluent in Italian and English and has a good command of German and French.

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