The RepowerEU is the plan with which the European Union aims to strengthen its strategic autonomy, reinforcing energy independence from unreliable suppliers and thereby accelerating the transition to clean energy and ensuring European industrial competitiveness. The plan stemmed from Europe’s need to break away from Russian fossil fuel supplies after the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine. It was presented by the European Commission in May 2022, a few months after the start of the invasion, and was officially adopted in February 2023.
The REPowerEU is composed of four main pillars, which correspond to four practices that should be adopted in order to achieve the plan’s main goals. These are:
- substitution of fossil fuels from Russia and diversification of supplies
- improved energy saving and energy efficiency
- increased use of clean energy
- financing of new infrastructure.
The plan thus aims to reduce natural gas imports from Russia by two-thirds within a year – i.e. by February 2024 – and then eliminate them permanently before 2030. The achievement of this objective depends on the redefinition of international strategic partners and the diversification of supplies.
The REPowerEU is structured in several points, which can be divided into short-term and medium-term measures. Among the former is the establishing stable partnerships with new, reliable energy suppliers, also with an eye to future cooperation concerning renewable and low-emission gases. Another short-term measure is the acceleration of projects in technologies such as photovoltaics, wind power, and renewable hydrogen, as well as the increase in biomethane production, which should help the EU reduce the import of almost 70 billion cubic metres of Russian gas. Also, part of the short-term measures is a common European platform through which member states can make joint purchases of natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and hydrogen.
Medium-term measures, to be implemented by 2027, include the formulation of new REPowerEU plans at national level for each member state. Other medium-term measures are the strengthening of industrial decarbonisation, the facilitation and speeding up of authorisations for renewable energies, and projects to increase renewable hydrogen with which to fuel European industry. Furthermore, several medium-term measures of the REPowerEU are strictly connected to the Fit for 55 package, with which the European Commission has defined its 2030 targets towards carbon neutrality. Indeed, with the REPowerEU some of the measures of the Fit for 55 are updated and strengthened. For example, the target for improving energy efficiency goes from 9 to 13 per cent, and the target for increasing the share of renewable energy in the EU’s energy mix by 2030 goes from from 40 to 45 per cent.
To finance the plan, the EU planned to use remaining loans of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which amount to €225 billion. Besides, the plan will be also financed by the Innovation Fund and the sale of the Emission Trading System (ETS) permits contained in Fit for 55 package. Additional funds will come from European funds and national allocations amounting to around €210 billion.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska