The EU plans a “massive” increase in solar and wind power, and a short-term boost for coal, to end its reliance on Russian oil and gas as fast as possible.
In a plan outlined on Wednesday, the European Commission said the EU needed to find an extra €210bn (£178bn) over the next five years to pay for phasing out Russian fossil fuels and speeding up the switch to green energy.
Senior officials conceded that in the short term, the race to get off Russian gas would mean burning more coal and nuclear energy. The plan, drawn up in response to the Kremlin-ordered invasion of Ukraine and subsequent soul-searching about Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, proposes upgrades to the EU green deal, the bloc’s flagship policy to confront the climate crisis.
The Commission proposed that 45% of the EU’s energy mix should come from renewables by 2030, an advance on the current 40% target suggested less than a year ago. Officials also want to cut energy consumption by 13% by 2030 (compared with 2020), in comparison with the current proposal of a 9% saving.