Updated Mar 8, 2022 - Energy & Environment

EU floats plan to ditch Russian energy — fast

Photo illustration of Vladimir Putin surrounded by yellow stars and pipelines.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

The European Commission released a strategy Tuesday aimed at making "Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030."

Why it matters: The plan seeks a very rapid break from Russian natural gas, which accounts for roughly a third of European imports.

  • The plan aims to cut those imports by two-thirds within the first year alone.

How it works: The plan relies on a combination of boosting reliance on other suppliers, efficiency, filling up storage more quickly, speeding up renewables, and perhaps boosting coal use in the short-term, per multiple reports.

What they're saying: "We must become independent from Russian oil, coal and gas.," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.

  • She added: "We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us. We need to act now to mitigate the impact of rising energy prices, diversify our gas supply for next winter and accelerate the clean energy transition."

Frans Timmermans, a top EC climate official, briefed reporters Monday.

  • "In a sign of the bloc's determination to shift away from Russia, Timmermans said it might make sense for some countries to boost coal in the short term if combined with an accelerated rollout of clean energy," Politico reports.
  • Timmermans touted more aggressive renewables deployment in a speech Monday.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details from the plan.

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