EU gas reduction exceeded targets

The REPowerEU policy has done well so far in its aim of ending Europe’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels by 2027. The target of a 15% reduction in gas use, compared to the average consumption between April 2017 and March 2022, was exceeded in both 2023 and 2024.

 The Commission has again set the same 15% target for the coming year. However, by doing so the very many EU countries that have succeeded so well in exceeding that target are effectively free to increase gas consumption this year, explains Ana Maria Jaller-Makarewicz at IEEFA. That’s because the unchanged target is 4.4% higher than the EU’s actual gas consumption last year. It’s why the Commission should set a higher target, argues Jaller-Makarewicz. And not just to maximise the chances of permanently getting off Russian gas. Other supply risks remain.

Low prices could incentivise more of the fuel’s use, supply may be affected by an end to the transit agreement through Ukraine this coming 31st December, and other geopolitical issues could affect the whole value chain, and weather conditions too.

REPowerEU, the European Union’s proposal to end its dependency on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, was launched in May 2022 with three main aims: to save energy, stimulate renewables growth and diversify energy supplies. As part of the plan, EU member states have agreed to European Commission proposals to voluntarily reduce gas use. These have been articulated in three targets, announced in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The EU exceeded its first and second targets: gas demand declined by 18% in the first period between August 2022 and March 2023 and in the second period between April 2023 and March 2024. The bloc reduced gas consumption by 20% between 2021 and 2023.

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