Building energy independence in Europe: what role for gas?

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      The new geopolitical realities with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent rise in hydrocarbon prices have highlighted the urgency of Europe’s energy security.

      Today, gas represents about 25% of the total energy consumption in the EU, and to make Europe less dependent on fossil fuels, it is necessary to break the system of dependence on supplies, in particular that of Russia, which has provided 45% of our gas needs in 2021. The international situation is forcing us to invest in our own capacities in order not to depend exclusively on external suppliers.

      With the Fit for 55 package and the RepowerEU plan published in May by the Commission, the European Union wants to accelerate the energy transition by increasing the target of 45% of renewable energy by 2030. This strategy aims essentially to bring about a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and store energy, such as the deployment of renewables in the electricity grid for industry, buildings and transport in order to strengthen its energy autonomy and stimulate investment.

      Electricity currently accounts for only 20% of total energy demand in the EU, with heating playing a major role in terms of demand with 70% of our gas consumption. So how can we change the role of gas in the European energy system? A good solution would be to take the role of biogas and hydrogen to balance the electricity grid and district heating to be a direct source when electrification is not technically or economically the best solution.

      To strengthen our arsenal, the Commission has published two delegated acts on the definition and production of renewable hydrogen that underline the importance of hydrogen in the future energy system.  

      Other initiatives are being implemented such as an action plan on biomethane with the creation of a new industrial alliance to increase production, the creation of new LNG terminals, gas interconnection projects.

      The deployment of interconnected infrastructures, compatible with different gases (hydrogen and gas) also remains a priority for energy development in Europe to accelerate carbon neutrality. A new energy diplomacy is also necessary to diversify our supplies with the upcoming creation of a new energy platform for the EU which will allow the joint purchase of gas, LNG and hydrogen.

      In this special issue, the different speakers alert us that Europe is at the crossroads of climate emergency and energy insecurity and that it is more than necessary to reassess and adjust the role of gas, renewable energies and other energy sources in the future European energy mix. It is important to reiterate that energy efficiency and energy savings remain an imperative for security of supply and that this requires changes in individual behavior and efficiency in our energy consumption.

      In this edition you will see the vision of the speakers about this whole situation. Most of them try to show that Europe should not invest in a new fossil fuel dependency with another country, but rather create new alliances and above all develop new alternative energy sources and regain its energy sovereignty while accelerating its climate transition.



      Laurent ULMANN

      • Building energy independence in Europe – Gas Diversifying gas supply sources for Europe
        Jozef Síkela, Czech Minister of Industry and Trade
      • Natural gas markets are set for a historic transformation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
        Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)
      • Supporting the transition to renewables: the role of the taxonomy
        Mairead McGuiness, Commissioner for Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union
      • Renewable hydrogen, key to decarbonizing the industry
        Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the ecological transition, Spain
      • Taking advantage of the energy transition to produce low-carbon and green gas in Europe
        Jean-François Carenco, Chairman of the CRE
      • REPowerEU Plan: How to decrease Europe’s energy dependency
        Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General for Energy, European Commission
      • The gas directive, a new approach
        Jens Geier, (S&D Group – Germany), Rapporteur Gas Directive ITRE Committee
      • Strengthen the security of gas supply and solidarity between Member State
        Cristian Busoï, MEP (EPP Group – Romania), Chair of the ITRE Committee
      • Shaping the European gas networks of tomorrow
        Thierry Trouvé, CEO of GRTgaz
      • Act European, Think Global: A European Hydrogen Import Strategy
        Hildegard Bentele, MEP (EPP Group – Germany), Member of the ITRE Committee
      • Financing hydrogen energy infrastructure projects to make the European energy system more resilient and scalable
        Christian Ehler, MEP, EPP ITRE Coordinator
      • Hydrogen will contribute to Europe’s energy security. Regulating private H2 supply infrastructure however will not help in this perspective
        Cristina BALLESTER HERRERA, VP Large Industries Europe AIR LIQUIDE
      • Renewable Hydrogen, an essential vector for Europe’s energy future
        Nicolás González Casare, MEP (S&D Group, Spain), Member of the ITRE
      • Boosting domestic gas production can improve our security of supply and reduce prices for consumers
        Tsvetelina Penkova, (S&D Group -Bulgaria), Member of the ITRE Committee
      • The energy Europe needs is around us. Let’s use it
        François-Régis Mouton de Lostalot-Lassalle, IOGP, Regional Director Europe
      • AFIR – An ambitious H2 infrastructure for the deployment of emission-free mobility
        Ismail Ertug, (S&D Group – Germany), Vice-Chair of the S&D Group, Member TRAN Committee
      • How France can be a key pillar of REPower EU’s Hydrogen Accelerator
        Philippe Boucly, President of France Hydrogène
      • Optimising the capacities of the European Gas Network
        Christian Buchel, EDSO Chairman, Enedis board member
      • Are we ready for electric mobility? The race secure charging infrastructure
        Susana Solis Perez, MEP (Renew Europe – Spain),Member of the REGI Committee
      • Gas Grids to support the REPowerEU Plan and strengthen Europe’s security of gas supply
        Bart Jan Hoevers, ENTSOG President
        Piotr Kuś, ENTSOG General Director
      • Making our energy efficiency targets binding will make sure member states take them seriously
        Niels Fuglsang, MEP (S&D Group – Denmark), Member ITRE Committee
      • A world without Russian Gas?
        Torben Brabo, Chief Executive Officer, Energinet Gas TSO, and President of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)
      • Building smart grids to operate a renewable gas system
        Laurence Poirier-Dietz, Chief Executive Officer, GRDF
      • Cleantech start-ups delivering green gas solutions can reshape the EU gas industry landscape and uphold the REPowerEU ambition. Investors need clear market and policy signals
        Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy
      • Caution: Ending fossil addiction will benefit us all
        Michael Bloss, MEP (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance – Germany), Member ITRE Committee
      • Biogas and biomethane are key partners to decarbonise territories while diversifying Europe’s gas supply
        Denis Bonvillain, Head of EU Public Affairs at Veolia
      • Methane emissions mitigation serving the security of gas supply
        Andris Piebalgs, Part-time Professor at Florence School of Regulation, former EU Commissioner for Energy
        Maria Olczak, Research Associate, Florence School of Regulation
      • The role of renewable gas in building efficiency
        Sean Kelly, MEP (EPP Group -Ireland), Member ITRE Committee
      • The role of gas in the decarbonization of maritime transport
        Bernard Vanheule, EU Affairs Director, Costa Group
      • Making maritime transport more sustainable
        Catherine Chabaud, MEP (Renew Europe – France), Member DEVE Committee
      • Renewable & CCU fuels: an alternative to gas dependency available here & now in Europe
        Tudy Bernier, Senior Policy Manager at CO2 Value Europe
      • Biomethane’s contribution to REPowerEU
        Harmen Dekker, CEO of EBA (European Biogas Association)
      • Europe’s energy requires both sustainability and flexibility: perspectives from the Bio-FlexGen project
        Susanne Paulrud, Senior researcher at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB/Coordinator of the Bio-FlexGen project