This report draws on insights and analysis by a number of experts to consider whether and how the EU would be able to deal with a total cut-off from Russian gas supplies going into the winter of 2022 and out to 2025 without jeopardizing medium-term energy and climate targets.
The report includes a list of ‘structural levers’ that could be pulled this winter, to plug gaps that would be left by the withdrawal of Russian gas. They are not intended as recommendations, but rather as a list of emergency measures, which governments may be forced to turn to in the coming months. However, the report does contain six recommendations around support for wind, solar, efficiency and electrification, that policymakers should consider to ensure that European states emerge from this crisis stronger, and are still able to meet medium-term energy and climate targets.
The analyses conducted confirm that there is a path for Europe to secure its energy supply over the next winters and into 2025, and to do so in conformity with its medium-term climate commitments. The key to this lies in the EU rapidly and fully implementing two recently announced programmes (‘Fit for 55’ and ‘REPowerEU’) and depends on European countries launching programmes supporting additional energy security levers. Options for these short-term levers may include a mix of aggressive deployment of renewables, energy efficiency, and electrification, a temporary increase in the use of fossil fuels such as coal or biomass, as well as a temporary ramp-up of LNG imports over the next 36 months, which can be achieved without requiring the construction of new onshore or piped gas infrastructure projects.
A focus on accelerating and scaling up the deployment of clean energy solutions would also lead to a rapid structural decline in overall gas demand beyond 2025. This would mean that there is no need for new gas infrastructure and also ensure that there is a clear exit path from the inevitable near-term plateau in coal use.
This paper is published by the European Climate Foundation (ECF) with significant support and contribution from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. McKinsey & Company supported the analysis and synthesis of the data and information provided in this paper. The paper draws on the analysis carried out by several researchers and grantee partners of ECF and the Hewlett Foundation, including the Rhodium Group, Agora Energiewende, University of Maryland, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The European Climate Foundation cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained or expressed therein.