Wednesday 20th July 2022, Brussels: The European Commission has proposed a regulation that sets a voluntary target to reduce gas demand by 15% between 1 August 2022 and 31 March 2023.
The ‘Save Gas for a Safe Winter’ plan would also give the Commission the possibility to declare, after Member State consultation, a mandatory gas demand reduction. The move follows the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and is in response to the Kremlin’s weaponisation of energy supply.
The European Commission also points to fuel-switching measures to pre-emptively save gas, including the switch to renewables and solar.
Speaking at the publication of the proposal, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said:
“The role of renewables must continue to be accelerated. As the IMF has recently studied, the cost of transition to renewables is lower than continuing with fossil fuels.”
SolarPower Europe's mid-year analysis shows that European solar is set to overshoot even our highest deployment projections for 2022, and support the continent’s shift from gas. After breaking a decade-long installation record in 2021 with 27 GW, 2022 is set to see 39 GW of new European solar capacity. 39 GW of additional solar replaces the equivalent of 4.6 BCM of gas.
“Every megawatt of energy generated by solar and renewables is fewer fossil fuels we need from Russia. European solar is rolling out as fast as possible in anticipation of a difficult winter.”
Dries Acke, Policy Director at SolarPower Europe, said: “For this winter, and every winter that follows, Europe needs full focus and attention on accelerating renewables. A real challenge the sector is facing is a critical skills shortage - we risk not having the number of installers and project developers that we need. This cannot be overlooked in strategic planning for European energy security."
Today’s proposal will now go to energy ministers from EU member states, when it will be voted on at next week’s Extraordinary Energy Council meeting (Tuesday 26th).
In our pre-war 2021 European Market Outlook for Solar Power, SolarPower Europe estimated 29.9 GW of additional EU solar capacity would be added in 2022
39 GW of solar represents the equivalent of 84 LNG tankers
4.6 BCM natural gas costs around €7 billion
Header image: Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission at the "Save gas for a safe winter" press conference © European Union, 2022 - Access here