Europe COULD break reliance on Russian gas claims thinktank

Europe could throw off the shackles of reliance on Russia for natural gas, a thinktank suggested today. The IPPR said a new target for improving Europe’s energy efficiency by 35% […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Europe could throw off the shackles of reliance on Russia for natural gas, a thinktank suggested today.

The IPPR said a new target for improving Europe’s energy efficiency by 35% by 2030 would cut the EU’s gas dependency by a third – around the same amount of EU gas demand currently met by Russia.

What’s more this would cut its fuel bill by half a trillion euros up to 2030, argued the report.

Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine has pushed EU leaders to consider ways of breaking gas ties with Russia.

The report found 24 of the 28 EU member states import gas from Russia while half of this gas flows through Ukraine.

It stated six member states are now wholly reliant upon Russia for all of their gas with Russia earning €31 billion (£25bn) a year from the EU for imported gas. The UK uses Russia for 15% of total gas supply.

Joss Garman, IPPR Associate Fellow said: “The crisis in Ukraine has reignited the debate in Europe over whether the package of energy policies that the continent’s leaders are aiming to agree in October should include a binding 2030 target on energy efficiency.

“This is because the countries that are most dependent on Russian gas are also the least fuel-efficient and improvements in energy efficiency could vastly reduce the scale of our dependency on Russia.”

The claim contrasted with a report from ratings agency Fitch which concluded there is “little chance” of the EU weaning itself from Russian gas.